Sziget Eyes Kiev Fest

The organizer of Hungary’s Sziget Festival is looking to set up a similar event in neighbouring Ukraine.

It would be on an island in the River Dnieper. Sziget is on Obuda Island, where the River Danube flows through Budapest.

Having identified a site, Sziget Cultural Management managing director Gabor Takacs says he’s looking for local investors and is believed to have had meetings with interested Ukrainian businessmen during this year’s Sziget Aug. 5-12.

“It would be more of a euro 5 million ($ 6.6 million) festival than a euro 10 million festival ($13.2 million),” Takacs told Pollstar, indicating that it would be aimed at a 30,000-capacity, rather than the 60,000 or so that the Hungarian festival market can accommodate. He said he’d like to start the Kiev fest next year but doesn’t believe it will be an easy task.

“It would mean having to have the investors in place very quickly in order to start sourcing international talent in the autumn,” Takacs explained. Although mid-sized festivals with capacities of less than 30,000 don’t tend to last long in old Eastern Bloc countries, Takacs still believes Kiev could provide a strong enough market.

Ten years ago, Ukrainian census figures put Kiev’s population at about 2.4 million, although other sources suggested it could be nearer 3.5 million or even 4 million.

Photo: AP Photo / MTI, Balasz Mohai
A girl enjoys the Luminary tent at Sziget festival in Budapest Aug. 8. 

The census figures are based on the number of loaves of bread sold each day. Ukrainian weekly Korrespondent claimed: “There are up to 1.5 million undercounted residents in Kiev.” At the moment, the country doesn’t have a regular festival. This year’s Sziget was definitely one of the hottest ever with evening temperatures still as high as 43c (109F).

Sziget Cultural Management is yet to reveal the final attendance figures but they appeared to be a little down on recent years, taking some of the gloss of the sellouts at Balaton Sound and Volt Festival. The hot acts at Sziget Aug. 5-12 included David Guetta, Blur, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Biffy Clyro, and Franz Ferdinand.