To get to, in and out of the Sziget festival was definitely “part of the adventure” this year, see below. What I enjoyed most there was the world music provided by the (mostly) Polish band Dikanda, who was joined on stage by accordionist, Marko Kukobat. I found Jain, as a person relatable, as a performer happy and hard working, but her music didn’t move me. Her videos are really spectacular though. The main attraction of the day was Ed Sheeran, whose music I was not familiar with and despite his everyday boy charm found boring, so we left after 4-5 songs as we were rather tired by that time.
I recorded four songs from Dikanda/Kukobat, three from Jain (including “Alright” and “Zombie”) and one from Ed Sheeran (“The A Team”), you can watch them all here:
And now the interesting part: how we ended up being on the Sziget. An old friend, who live sin Denmark gave a ticket to my wife. He bought it way in advance as he wanted to see Jain, but he ended up not coming and gave it to her to be used. So thank you friend for the ticket. My teenage stepdaughter is a big fan of Ed Sheeran, but she opted, rather maturely if I may say so, to be at another program, which was more important for her. We were undecided till the day before the show whether to go. We hoped to find a cheaper ticket than the 27000 FT (about $100) and kept checking the events’ Facebook page and Ticketswap. If we had not found a lower price ticket we were ready to sell the friend’s ticket for the right price and send him the money.
But we “lucked out” and bought a ticket for 19000 Ft the day before. On the morning of the show, at 6 am, we noticed a post from someone that the ticket voucher they bought from the same person we bought it from was already used and he couldn’t change the voucher for the ticket. He and we and as later turned out at least another 8 people were victims of a fraud, where a couple sold the same tickets over and over. So we drove to the Sziget, mind you this was still before 7 AM; as that was the only place where the vouchers could be turned into tickets and if it didn’t work we could get a paper certifying this that we could take to the police. The process of getting that certification took some time, but by 7:30 we had it in our hand. Meanwhile we formed a little Facebook group for the victims so we could coordinate our actions against the fraudsters.
Second shock of the day as we wanted to leave from the Sziget gates. The car didn’t start, the aging battery gave up We managed to stop someone for help but we didn’t have jumper cables and they didn’t either. We asked for help from the policemen who were already standing there, getting ready for the crowds and they pointed out than on the other side of the road was a car mechanic shop, who could help. Sure enough, once I found the boss of the shift, which didn’t even start yet, he sent out one of the junior mechanics with me who jump started the car successfully and we were on our merry way.
Being still early enough in the day we decided to run an other errand , which was relatively close by, at Hűvösvölgy. We got there fine and finished what we came for. But then the car didn’t start again. To make matters worse, there was no mechanic or anyone with a jumper cable nearby. We also tried unsuccessfully start the car by rolling it downhill with the help of a few good men pushing it. To top of the series of issues the car alarm started to shriek and shut down the car every time it almost started. We were caught in a catch-22 situation.
Hence we were forced to give up the car for the day and decided to leave it there and use public transport. I got home, jumped on my bike and rode out to a suburb to get the fob for the car alarm fixed, so the alarm could be turned off. It was on my todo list for years, but suddenly it became urgent. Meanwhile my wife, after lots of coordination with the other victims of the fraudsters, went to the police station the group agreed to go to, to file the official claim/report about the Sziget ticket. If we all did it at the same station the cases would be combined and would belong to a higher category of crimes and misdemeanors as the total damage caused by them is higher. She had to wait a long time, but got our case’s details recorded for the police report. We also went to our bank from where we wired the money for the ticket to start the process of getting our money back that way.
Around 4 PM we finally got home, exhausted form the day’s activities already. (Sidenote: By this time I already biked 15 kilometers that day. As I also went to pick up a new teakettle as the previous one broke the day before. We ordered it online and the pick up place for it, want yet in another area of town.) Our original plan was to go to Sziget leisurely around 2-3 PM and check out what else it can offer beside concerts. We were looking forward to circus acts, exhibitions, meeting NGOs, and walking around. None of that happened. We scouted the net again and found someone offering a ticket for 20,000 FT. Although we were rather suspicious after our previous experience, but there were some insurances, e.g. we were to meet the person selling the ticket at the Sziget. After refreshing a bit, we hit the bikes and rode to Sziget, which took about 50 minutes. This time the ticket transfer went smooth, I’d rather not get into the details to protect the seller’s identity.
We were positively surprised how easy and fast it was to get into the Sziget. There were lots of gates to turn the vouchers into tickets so that part went fast and uneventful. We had a small bag with us with a few sandwiches and a bottle of water so we were sent to the line, where people with bags had to go to. There were dozens of people in front us so I estimated it would take an hour. We were done in 15 minutes.
I wrote already above how I liked the three acts we saw, so the last thing I want to share how our adventurous day ended. After about 15-20 minutes of listening to Ed Sheeran we decided to leave. We were in front of the main stage, but in the way back. Even there people were packed like sardines. Being relatively tall I saw the way out and headed steadily that way. It still took us half an hour to get out from the crowd. My wife, who is shorter sometimes got quite scared in the crowd as she couldn’t even see that we are heading towards the correct direction. Eventually we got out from that space and took another 20 minutes to get to the gate and then 50 minutes of bikeriding to get home. This latter part was made even more interesting by occasional, but short showers.
By the time we got home the news started to pour in what happened at the concert after we left. First people who wanted to leave panicked and had an even harder time to get out than we did. Some of them were pulled over the bar of the canteens’ so they could get out that way. Based on the testimonies it was quite a horrific scene. Then it took more than an hour for them to get off the island the festival was held, because the only bridge out couldn’t bear the load of that many people at the same time. So security had to limit the number of people they could get onto it in any given time. Hence the crawling exiting speed. We got really lucky that we avoided both of these scary events.
All in all, this was a nerve-racking day, with some positive highlights; e.g. the first two bands and the healthy results of riding over 30 km on the bike in a day. As of now, a week later, we still didn’t get our money back from the fraudsters and still waiting for the police for any news.