Sziget Festival: Climate Change, Human Rights

By Chris Sparham

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You say you want a revolution? Well, Sziget Festival is the place to be this summer.  

In addition to putting on a great show filled with musical talent, the Budapest-based festival will use its platform to highlight important issues, such as climate change, human rights, and equality. Furthermore, organisers have continued to make changes to make the six-day bash more environmentally friendly, underlining its commitment to tackling climate change.

The festival is also welcoming a host of Ukrainian performers across many of its 60 stages. This show of solidarity not only highlights the organisers’ support for the Ukrainian people, but also speaks to their commitment to promoting a world free from violence and fear.

 Want to learn more? Here is an overview of what’s going on…

Join the Love Revolution

The Love Revolution programme will explore the environment, human rights, equality, and the importance of peace. Each day, short presentations and speeches will bring to light the social changes happening around us and highlight our collective responsibility to address them. Additionally, on the changeover between concerts, artists from around the world will raise awareness the most pressing issues of our time.

This year’s Love Revolution will bring the young and energetic Ukrainian acrobat Dima Malakhov to the festival. His performance, entitled ‘Make Art Not War – Together for Ukraine’, will raise awareness of the importance of peace and balance in life, on land and in the air.

Canadian ballet dancer and choreographer Joshua Beamish will also be conveying an important message through performance art. His dance, Natural Tendencies, is a performance that stands up against homophobia and highlights that people should not be judged for who they love.

Additionally, there will be a number of writers and activists taking to the stage. Congolese-born, London-raised writer and poet JJ Bola will be raising awareness of the issues facing refugees, and on the final day climate activists Tori Tsui and Vanessa Nakate will discuss the steps we can take towards a more sustainable future.

Think for Tomorrow

Life is tough for young people. Society is becoming more complex, and this is giving rise to issues and challenges that the previous generations did not have to face. With these problems in mind, organisers have created the Think for Tomorrow site, which explores the pressing societal issues from the perspective of young people. Each day will tackle a different issue, including identity politics, mental health, and the future of education.

On the subject of young people, the aforementioned Love Revolution event will also feature the Superar programme, which inspires children to overcome personal and social limitations through the means of collaborative music making. The Superar Chidren’s Choir will be on the Main Stage on 12 August.

Step Into the Magic Mirror

For over two decades, Magic Mirror has been celebrating love, joy, and acceptance. It is a place where visitors can let go of their inhibitions and learn about the LGBTQ+ community in an open and welcoming environment.

Like previous years, there will be a wealth of things to see and do, including film screenings, panel discussions, workshops, talks, concerts, and stand-up comedy. Add to that the now legendary parties, and you can see why Magic Mirror is a popular attraction for the “Szitizens”.

Perhaps the best-known side of Magic Mirror is its world of nightclubs. The main show at 11pm is always highly anticipated, and this year this year the organisers have arranged for British drag act Queenz to perform. Queenz will have everyone singing and dancing to the biggest gay hits of recent years.

Furthermore, Magic Mirror will be championing equality by showcasing some of the best DJs on the Budapest scene. The Femmes to the Front party will include sets by Kali, Vatsanah and Lau, who will be familiar with fans of house, techno and electronic music. Later, closing party will feature even more danceable music performed by both boys and girls.

Stand by Ukraine

In addition to those on the Main Stage, Szitizens will find Ukrainian performers across the festival. In fact, Ukrainian acts will be performing on almost every stage, showing the organisers’ support for the war-torn country.

At Cirque du Sziget, Cirk La Putyka will perform Boom Vol.2, a showcase of Ukrainian and Czech young people sharing their professional skills, personal stories and experiences. Over at the Global Village, Balaklava Blues will showcase a mix of traditional and electronic genres, while Alyona Alyona and PVNCH will bring their hip-hop and rap styles to the dropYard stage.

Play a Part in Sziget’s “Greenification”

Sziget takes sustainability very seriously, so the organisers will be continuing the festival’s “greenification” in 2023. Furthermore, some festival goers have made pledges via video to reduce waste when camping.

One key aim is to offer food prepared with a smaller carbon footprint. To this end, organisers have launched a campaign among caterers, which will result in 80% of the vendors offering at least two vegetarian courses, and 40% not offering any red meat at all. Close attention will also be paid to waste collection and energy saving in the food courts.

To reduce the environmental impact of fuel consumption around the Sziget Festival, most of the festival’s workers will use electric or human-powered vehicles. Organizers are also piloting a carbon offsetting program for those who arrive by plane, with a goal is to offset the majority of air travel within a few years.

Why Sziget is the Place to be This Summer

We all want to change the world for the better, but sometimes you just need to let your hair down and enjoy life in the moment. And that’s the great thing about Sziget: you can see some amazing live performances, experience that sense of festival freedom, and feel like you’re taking part in a revolution all in one. That’s why Sziget is more than just a music festival, and why you should experience its magic in 2023.

Buy tickets for Sziget Festival 2023 here.