Europe’s best music festivals, artists and promoters of 2014 were revealed at the 6th annual European Festival Awards, which took place at Groningen’s De Oosterpoort in The Netherlands. Sziget won the title of Best Major Festival.
In 2011, the festival was ranked one of the 5 best festivals in Europe by The Independent and 2011’s Sziget became the best festival at the European Festivals Award in early 2012. Now it was time to reclaim this title; last year’s Sziget Festival has won in the category of Best Major European Festival. The winners were decided by a combination of public votes and the jury – made up of journalists, booking agents and festival organisers – who had a 25% say in the final outcome. More than 1,2 million votes from festival fans all over the world were cast with festivals in more than 35 countries taking part.
Not only Budapest, but Eastern Europe has dominated this year’s European Festival Awards, with events in Poland and Montenegro taking top prizes as well. The prize for the best mid-size festival was awarded to Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro, an electro party on a beach on the Adriatic. Tauron Nowa Muzyka, a dance festival in Poland that takes place in a closed-down coal mine, won the best small festival award.
Our famous Sziget Festival has become one of the largest music and cultural festivals of Europe since 1993, when the first one was organized. Back then, it was only a relatively low-profile student event (originally called Diáksziget which means „students’ island”). This first festival was organized by music fans in their spare time and ran over budget. From 1996 to 2001 it was sponsored by Pepsi and renamed Pepsi Sziget. It has been called Sziget Fesztivál („island festival") since 2002.
The number of visitors rapidly grew throughout the years, the last, 2014 festival was visited by 415 000music and party lovers. In addition to music, the festival offers a variety of other activities such as cinema, dance, theatre, tattooing and other sports activities like volleyball, tennis, rock climbing or bungee jumping.