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This is the fourth major Hungarian music event to be cancelled because of the pandemic
Sziget Festival, Hungary’s biggest and one of Europe’s largest music and cultural events will not take place this August – for a second year in a row. The festival, which every summer transforms the 108-hectare Danubean island of Óbudai-sziget in northern Budapest into a giant, buzzing beehive, has announced postponement for 2022.
With a heavy heart
“With sadness in our hearts … seeing the amount of uncertainty around travelling, accommodation and the domestic and international role of immunity certificates, we have made the decision to prepare for next year’s Sziget instead,” Tamás Kádár, the festival’s chief organizer said in a statement, quoted by Hungary Today. Kádár added that the two-year dormancy had made life difficult for all actors involved in the event and in the sector, so everybody is “loooking forward to the ’22 festival season like never before.”
Organizers are promising a “grand comeback” in 2022, and have posted a special promotional video on the festival’s official website. In the meantime, they have assured that all purchased tickets and festival extras will be automatically valid for next year’s event. Otherwise, ticket holders can ask for a refund, convert the value of their ticket or sell it to someone else using their Festival Account.
The fate of Sziget Festival seemed predetermined after two large festivals belonging to the same portfolio, Balaton Sound and Volt, had announced roughly a month and a half ago that they would not go ahead this year. Sziget’s announcement came just hours after Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, had confirmed that only people with immunity certificates would be able to attend concerts and festivals, visit restaurants and hotels and participate in sporting events, at least until August. The possibility that the ban on festivals could only be lifted after 5 million people in Hungary have been vaccinated with at least one shot has apparently played a part in organizers waving the white flag.
Vaccination certificates a major problem
Two days before Sziget’s cancellation announcement, rock music-focused FEZEN Festival followed suit. In addition to the usual uncertainties, FEZEN organizers also pointed at the immunity certificate “misery”, arguing that some of the festival’s participants surely wouldn’t possess the required document yet at the time of the event, meaning they would have to be denied entry, which is “out of the question.”
According to Hungary Today, despite the woes of larger festivals, smaller ones remain upbeat for now, and several of them have already begun selling tickets.
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