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The Most Significant Impacts of Sziget Festival in Hungary

1. Introduction - The Most Significant Impacts of Sziget Festival in Hungary

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As per the definition offered by Ferdinand and Kitchin (2016), the term “event management” refers to any event which satisfies the following criteria:

  • are large-scale in size
  • involve local and international audiences
  • attract global media attention, and
  • result in a wide range of impacts

(Kitchin and Ferdinand, 2016)

The “Sziget Festival” in Hungary, one of Europe’s largest “music and cultural festivals,” is an example of a proper international event. To celebrate the summer solstice in Budapest, Hungary, a 108-hectare (266-acre) island known as “Old Buda Island” is transformed into an island park each August. There are around 1,000 performances each year (Gy?ri, 2019).

After starting as a small student gathering in 1993, the festival has evolved to be one of Europe’s most renowned rock events, attracting more than half of its attendees from outside Hungary, primarily the western European countries. There is a “party train” service for festival-goers from all across Europe, with DJs on board. The second event, dubbed Eurowoodstock in 1994, was highlighted by Woodstock musicians (Pap, 2019). In 1997, the total number of visitors had crossed the 250,000 mark, and in 2016, there were 496,000 people from 95 nations who had attended (the daily capacity having been raised to 90,000) (Pap, 2020).

The focus of the present report is to critically analyse the political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental and technological impacts of this event, with special reference to the impact that this event has on the local area where the event takes place as well as on the host community of the same. Among these, the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of the Sziget Festival will be analysed in detail as a part of this report.

2. Discussion on the Impacts of the Sziget Festival

2.1 Overview of the Multifarious Impacts of the Event

Kind of Impact



With the Sziget Festival, Hungary has a better chance of improving its connections with other nations. This is of considerable importance since it is supposed to prevent future misunderstandings and wars between nations. As a result, they have been the foundation of some of the world’s most important international accords (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2019).

When it comes to bringing peace to the world, foreign relations play an important role. In today’s globalised society, war is just not acceptable because of the many various sorts of mediators that exist to avert it and reach a mutual accord (Pavlukovi?, Stankov and Arsenovi?, 2020). A major role is played by international events such as these in building friendly ties.


The Sziget Music Festival, which takes place in Hungary, has a considerable impact on tourism growth. Annually, the Sziget Festival employs more than 3,000 people. Sziget’s 2017 budget was around € 20 million. About 15,000 individuals are employed by the organisation in total, including volunteers (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2017). Almost half a million people from across the world visited the event in 2017, mostly from the Netherlands, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. The festival’s audience is split 50/50 between Hungarians and foreigners.

It is interesting to observe that foreigners tend to buy multiple-day tickets, whereas Hungarians tend to buy individual tickets.

€ 22.5 million was earned by the Sziget Festival for the week in 2017, and 85 per cent of profits came from ticket sales (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2017).


Participants in the Sziget Music Festival have the potential to have a positive influence on the individuals and communities who take part in it. People with this skill can mobilise large numbers of people and have a substantial impact on their lives in a variety of ways (Gonda, OROSZ and Mate, n.d.). Instead of simply providing individuals with a pleasurable experience, a more advanced objective may be to give an opportunity that has a positive impact on their long-term behaviour rather than simply presenting them with pleasure. Another approach is to make intangible contributions to the culture and customs of the host country or region.


Despite the fact that large international events like the Sziget Festival often contribute significantly to environmental deterioration, an increasing number of festivals are placing a high priority on sustainability and environmental issues. Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary, has received the “European Festival Awards” for “Best Line-Up” and “Best Major Festival” many times. “Akos Dominus”, Sziget’s “Sustainability Manager” for the past 17 years, has introduced a variety of techniques to guarantee that the event is as environmentally friendly as it can be (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2019).


Major global events such as the Sziget festival entail the use of high-end technology to cater to the various requirements, starting from the streamlining of the ticketing process to the optimization of the audio-visual output. These events, therefore, drive technological innovation. They only pave the way for the creation and development of appropriate high-tech devices to enhance the success of these events but also generate commercial demand for the same.

2.2 Impact of the Event on the Local Area and the Host Country

It is clear that the Sziget festival has a direct and indirect influence on the people who live in it. Involvement, involvement, and skill development are all provided by the programme. It also gives chances for social, cultural, economic, and environmental advancements (Gonda, OROSZ and Mate, n.d.). Attractions and infrastructures at the regional, national, and international levels are promoted by these cultural and musical events (Pavlukovi?, Stankov and Arsenovi?, 2020). To optimise and justify the use of certain places, the Sziget festival is an excellent option. There may be economic and cultural benefits of these sites are saved and preserved. It has been shown that the more local people and suppliers are involved in the provision of goods and services, the higher the economic advantages to the region, and this festival provides these chances to Budapest’s residents. An event provides a significant amount of annual income for local vendors, craftsmen and crafters as well as restaurants, hotels and innkeepers (Gy?ri, 2019).

Hungary reaps several benefits, both immediate and long-term, as a result of hosting this worldwide event, which includes the following:

  • It raises the country’s prominence, which has long-term economic advantages.
  • Preparing for a huge event provides a considerable long-term investment. Venues for music festivals in the city/country will be better in the future.
  • Many employment opportunitites will be created as a result of the years of preparation and investment.
  • Why Hosting such a significant music event may generate excitement and interest, and help encourage the uptake of music that has long-term advantages for the nation’s cultural riches.

2.3 Further details about the Socio-Cultural and Environmental Impacts of the Event

2.3.1 Socio-Cultural Impact

The Sziget Festival is a unique tourism attraction that boosts the worth and prestige of the host country. In the development and promotion of most places, this musical and cultural event plays a rising role in the competitiveness of such destinations. There are many various sorts of occurrences, and it is difficult to think about the possible consequences of each in words that can be comprehended (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2019). There are four basic categories in which events can be classified based on their size and influence. Local, regional, big, and mega-events all fall under this category. The degree of participation, the number of spectators and the amount of media coverage, as well as the extent to which an event generates significant international demand for each, are all commonly recognised as factors in determining the perceived scope and importance of a given event (Süli and Martyin-Csamangó, 2020). Major or mega-events are often associated with worldwide appeal and global reach. A huge event such as Sziget Festival has the potential to bring a wide variety of economic, socio-cultural and environmental advantages linked with the image, branding, and expansion of tourism, just to name a few of the many benefits.

Because mega-events are the most expensive and time-consuming to plan and organise, they are also the most time-consuming and expensive to implement. Sziget Festival is an example of a mega-event. As a result, this event has the longest-lasting effect. For the time being, Hungarian officials believe that the finances needed to compete for and perhaps host the country’s mega-event can be recouped (Gy?ri, 2019). It is becoming increasingly typical for places to stage international events in order to position themselves in a shifting global tourist landscape. Many consider them accelerators for long-term development plans, infrastructure upgrades and new collaborations for sports, tourism, cultural, and leisure facilities. According to a recent survey, many towns and nations consider the process of bidding for large events, even if they are ultimately unsuccessful, as giving a range of practical benefits (Tenu and Ciocoiu, n.d.). As a result of hosting the Sziget Festival, Hungary benefits in the following ways:

  • increases the company’s global visibility and reputation
  • makes it easier for public officials to work together on a wide range of logistical difficulties
  • plans development in a more timely manner (urban, event-related facilities, transport infrastructure etc.),
  • puts the onus on potential hosts to define their success measures

2.3.2 Environmental Impact

As one of the world’s largest and most well-attended music festivals, Budapest’s Sziget Festival attracts more than 500,000 attendees over the course of its seven-day run on an island in the Danube. More than 1,000 performances take place on 60 stages for the event’s guests from all around the world (Pap, 2020). This year’s Sziget Festival will mark its 20th anniversary of working hard to minimise the event’s negative environmental impact.

Sziget has identified five main areas of impact and developed a strategic sustainability strategy that can be implemented in each area to promote awareness of environmental sustainability during the festival’s lead-up, length, and takedown. As a means of motivating future events, this aids the company’s mission of fostering a growing commitment to environmental sustainability.

  1. Reducing and reusing the garbage that is generated throughout the event

It is estimated that 30-40 per cent of the garbage generated during the event may be recycled. The objective is to reduce trash to a bare minimum and to attain a recycling rate of at least 50%. For example, they promote the use of reusable cups, designate freshwater stations for water refilling, and require vendors to use only biodegradable napkins, take-away boxes, cutlery, plates, and straws while distributing their products (Pavlukovi?, Armenski and Alcántara-Pilar, 2019). They educate guests about the “Don’t suck!” campaign and urge them to shun straws. Pocket ashtrays are distributed. “Recycling cardboard” are collected, and “recycling containers” are placed across the island. The other activities which are involved as a part of this process include:

  • “garbage bags” and “recycling containers” are distributed to the guests;
  • “tents”, “sleeping bags”, and “mats” are collected on the final day of “Sziget” at the three “Recycling Centers”,
  • they donate to local charitable organisations.

Moreover, they also work with volunteers who assist in:

  • the collection of garbage from the site of the festival and the “recycling” of waste at the “Recycling Centers Gathering” and “composting” food waste at the “mobile composting facility” that has been set up on the island
  • keeping “cooking oil” in separate containers and disposing of it in the correct manner
  1. “Repurposing”, “redistributing” and “monitoring” energy in all areas where it is possible

Because energy consumption is a need during festivals, it is critical to adopt the most efficient ways possible while putting the least amount of strain on the environment. Sziget Festival has established a dining block with environmentally aware merchants and meal preparations that emit less CO2 (Slager, 2021). Commercial buildings are supplied with self-contained metres that provide energy efficiency suggestions. Volunteers assist in determining whether festival partners implemented the following measures:

  • “LED lighting” in the entire site of the festival
  • Additionally, the festival’s power needs will be met by a combination of renewable energy and city-supplied power.
  • making sure that “green energy” is used whenever possible.

  1. Encouraging “shared travel” and methods of “sustainable travel”

Transportation is a significant component to the festival’s environmental effect; hence, Sziget encourages the adoption of sustainable transport alternatives to mitigate the impact. These include the following:

  • Increasing public awareness of rail services and customised “shuttle trains” for all guests. Offering a “shuttle service” between “Budapest International Airport” and Sziget;
  • Increasing awareness of the “Sziget Boat”, which travels between the “Jászai Mari Square” and the “Sziget Festival”.
  • Insisting participants to make use of the public transportation of the city, which operates more often during the event.
  • By offering free “bike storage” and a “rapid repair station”, as well as “bike rental services”, and by encouraging festival workers to ride their assigned bikes;
  • Introducing “electric cars” to be used “on-site” by festival employees.
  • Increasing awareness of alternative modes of sustainable transportation, such as “carsharing”.

  1. “Green Shower Initiative”, “ECO toilets”, “Ecocamping”

“Water conservation” is critical considering the current state of the environment, and the “Sziget Festival” is taking steps to safeguard waterways. The event is devoted to conserving water and protecting rivers by:

  • implementing the “Green Shower Initiative”, which encourages participants to take shorter showers;
  • Increased monitoring of the “Danube riverside” to ensure that no rubbish enters the stream;
  • Providing “ECO toilets” with “vacuum flushing technology” at the “Ecocamping” to save about 85 per cent more water;
  • Increasing awareness of the need of using “biodegradable” cleaning products;
  • Using “time-limited push-stop” faucets to avoid wasting valuable water.

  1. “Recultivating” the land and implementing “biodegradables”

As the “Sziget Festival” is held annually on the pleasant island named “Buda”, they are committed to doing all possible to ensure that people may return and enjoy the stunning variety of nature every year. The following actions have been taken to accomplish this:

  • Evaluating the ecological impact of the event
  • “Recultivating” the event’s area in order to return it to the public in the state in which it was received
  • Bringing forth the use of “biodegradable” cleaning agents to avoid causing damage to the soil
  • Creating a “Public Sustainability Report” to trace and oversee all developments and to have a better understanding of the effectiveness of their policies and strategies.

3. Conclusion

The preceding sections of this paper go into great length into the various types of impacts that the selected international event, the Sziget Festival, has on the host country of Hungary. The political, economic, socio-cultural, environmental, and technological implications of this mega-event have been investigated and analysed as part of this topic. The ways in which the Sziget Festival benefits the host community as well as the country are also discussed in further detail in the section that follows this one. In addition, the paper has gone into greater detail about the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the event, in order to better understand the intricacies of the Sziget Festival, which is one of the largest international events in the world.

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Gy?ri, Z., 2019. Between Utopia and the Marketplace: The Case of the Sziget Festival. In Eastern European Popular Music in a Transnational Context (pp. 191-211). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Gy?ri, Z., 2019. Between Utopia and the Marketplace: The Case of the Sziget Festival. In Eastern European Popular Music in a Transnational Context (pp. 191-211). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Kinnunen, M., Honkanen, A. and Luonila, M., 2021. Frequent music festival attendance: festival fandom and career development. International Journal of Event and Festival Management.

Kitchin, P. and Ferdinand, N., 2016. Events Management: An International Approach.


Pap, V., 2019. Researching the spirit of place. Mental mapping on Sziget festival. Corvinus Journal of Sociology and Social Policy10(1), pp.113-131.

Pap, V., 2020. Researching the spirit of place at a festival. Mental mapping on Sziget Festival.

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Pavlukovi?, V., Armenski, T. and Alcántara-Pilar, J.M., 2017. Social impacts of music festivals: Does culture impact locals’ attitude toward events in Serbia and Hungary?. Tourism Management63, pp.42-53.

Pavlukovi?, V., Armenski, T. and Alcántara-Pilar, J.M., 2019. The Impact of Music Festivals on Local Communities and Their Quality of Life: Comparation of Serbia and Hungary. In Best Practices in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management (pp. 217-237). Springer, Cham.

Pavlukovi?, V., Armenski, T. and Alcántara-Pilar, J.M., 2019. The Impact of Music Festivals on Local Communities and Their Quality of Life: Comparation of Serbia and Hungary. In Best Practices in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management (pp. 217-237). Springer, Cham.

Pavlukovi?, V., Armenski, T. and Alcántara-Pilar, J.M., 2019. The Impact of Music Festivals on Local Communities and Their Quality of Life: Comparation of Serbia and Hungary. In Best Practices in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management (pp. 217-237). Springer, Cham.

Pavlukovi?, V., Stankov, U. and Arsenovi?, D., 2020. Social impacts of music festivals: A comparative study of Sziget (Hungary) and Exit (Serbia). Acta geographica Slovenica60(1), pp.21-35.

Slager, N.E., 2021. Festival season, here I come! A study on the factors motivating Dutch techno-house music festival visitors for attending these music festivals (Bachelor’s thesis, University of Twente).

Süli, D. and Martyin-Csamangó, Z., 2020. The impact of social media in travel decision-making process among the Y and Z generations of music festivals in Vojvodina and Hungary. Turizam24(2).

Tenu, A. and Ciocoiu, C.N., Risk Management for Events and Festivals. The Best Romanian Management Studies 2017-2018, p.119.

Zeberer, Z., Green event certification in Hungary: a multi-stakeholder approach (Doctoral dissertation, Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz).

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