Sziget was born under the motto „we need a week of being together” and it did last seven full days back before some deaf old lady in the 13th district complained that the Main Stage induced ratttling of her china kept her up all those scorching nights. So it was chopped down to five, to the great dismay of the general public, then buffed up with days -1 and 0, to the bewilderment of said public.
These days are basically Sziget gearing into speed, revellers moving in, some venues still in the final stages of construction, concerts held only in two-three select locations. Mostly they are tributes to local acts, guaranteed to attract a crowd that would otherwise not show itself on Sziget. The whole atmosphere has a bit of a close encounters of the third kind feeling, with the two species, the sziget-dweller and the alien attentively studying the rites of the other. „Look ma, grown up men in monkey pajamas sailing an invisible boat!”.
The concerts are a delight to those who come especially to see them, but might be a bit befuddling for the foreign scenesters, who tend to slouch in spritzer bars instead. The four hour long Republic tribute was the archetypal „minus day” concert- the lead singer of the legendary Hungarian band having passed away recently, his band colleagues and friends played tribute songs and paid their respects to Cipő.
I have to admit being bewildered myself at the length- I would assume any band, even one with an illustrious back catalogue, would find it hard to keep it interesting for so long, though of course the whole show was helped by the presence of several Hungarian music greats. The number of those who attended (very well illustrated by the gigantic queue slitheting its way to public transport at midnight) should however prove the organisers right and die hard fans were definitely touched by the moment- several people even bursting into tears, which is not classic Sziget behaviour for sure but was perfectly understandable on the night.
Meanwhile in the other areas the atmosphere was somewhat low key but business as usual, Brits in animal costumes, a few jam packed party spots, lounging around Africa village, the French beginning their drunken raids around thier „ghetto” (clearly marked out by an Eiffel tower made of beer cans).
What did shock a few people was the lack of the usual Sziget magazine made in collaboration with Pesti Esti- the new version looks like a passport and is a fun idea overall, but no separate daily schedules will leave quite a few hipsters grumpy. Time to get those fancy pencils out and draw daily schedules of your own, which might be a beautiful trip down memory lane, though maybe not in a tent. In 40 degrees. With the Irish next door singing drinking songs.