Balaton Makes Bigger Sound

The Balaton Sound festival on the shores of what’s called “the Hungarian Sea” has tripled its size in three years and is one of the most rapidly emerging outdoors in the old Eastern Bloc.

Started two years ago by Sziget Cultural Management Ltd., the company behind the country’s renowned 75,000-capacity Sziget Festival in Budapest, it began with crowds averaging 8,000 per day for a bill that included Beastie Boys, Basement Jaxx, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Eric Prydz and Roger Sanchez.

The 2008 edition had Fatboy Slim, Massive Attack, Goldfrapp, and The B-52s and the average crowd more than double to 18,000 per day.

The third edition (July 9-12) featuring Moby, Underworld, Kraftwerk, Orbital, and RÖyksopp pulled an average of more than 21,000 per day and three of the four days sold out their 25,000-capacity.

The shores of Lake Balaton, central Europe’s largest inland waterway, attract a million visitors a year including holidaymakers from Germany and all the neighbouring central European and Balkan states.

Many younger Europeans are also making it a holiday destination and arranging their visits around the festival.