Delighted With Record Sziget

Econet chairman Csaba Balázs is delighted that this year’s Sziget Festival smashed its attendance record.

Having bought Sziget Cultural Management Ltd., which includes Sziget, Volt Festival and Balaton Sound, for a deal that could be worth US$30 million, the Budapest-based media giant saw the flagship event attract 385,000 fans across six days.

Technically, that’s no bigger than the Sziget crowds of 2005 and 2006, but that was before the festival scaled down from seven days to six.

The biggest turnout was the 70,000 who came for R.E.M. on Saturday night, the first time Sziget has ever had to put up the “Sold Out” signs. Thursday and Friday also broke the 65,000-person daily attendance record of previous years by pulling 68,000 and 67,000 respectively.

Another Hungarian outdoor to have a record year was Szin Festival, which is also known as Youth Days Of Szeged and locally nicknamed “mini Sziget.”

The August 27-30 event at Szeged, which is the country’s fourth-largest city and situated near the southern borders with Romania and Serbia, pulled 20,000 per day.

The festival has had a chequered history. It started more than 25 years ago with a lineup of only domestic acts. Then it stopped for 10 years, and six years ago re-emerged with international talent on the bill.

Baris Basaran of Istanbul-based Charmenko, which booked the international acts for the third time, said he can envisage further expansion as the site – which has eight stages and three swimming pools – has plenty of space to accommodate bigger crowds.

The acts on this year’s lineup included Morcheeba, Within Temptation, Swedish glam-rockers Backyard Babies, Mattafix, Barabás Lorinc Eklektric, Russkaja and Kool Runningz Crew.