After the success of Student Island, Müller and Gerendai immediately started with the organizing works for the 2nd edition. Also realizing that 1994 was the 25th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock event, they decided to pay tribute to the mother of all festivals by inviting not just Hungarian, but also international acts. The fans were more than happy to participate, so the total number of paying visitors was precisely 100 000 more than a year before. And there were some big names in the line-up, as Eurowoodstock was headlined by Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Frank Zappa’s Grandmothers of Invention, Jefferson Starship, Birds, Blood Sweat and Tears and Eric Burdon. The success of Eurowoodstock had a great feedback also abroad, as the international media – including MTV – was mentioning the event as a great initiative, while the official Woodstock memorial party at the original US venue was far from being popular in the press. The problem was again money, more precisely the lack of it. Costs were sky high, the budget was almost tripled compared to the first year, but the balance was once again not positive in the end. Luckily this didn’t stop the enthusiastic organizing team to immediately start working on the 3rd edition – in fact they needed a financially successful event to cover their losses and debts of the second year.
Beginning with the 3rd edition, Sziget became a more professionally organized event. In 1995 this already meant that 3-4 people worked full time throughout the year on organizing, joined by a massive crew of 4000 helpers just before and during the festival. Visitors started to get used to the fact that Sziget presents some international headliners, so the success was evident: in 1995 a total of 173 000 visitors joined the event, while in 1996 this figure was already up to 206 000. Thanks to the sponsorship of Pepsi – even the name of the event changed to Pepsi Sziget – the organizers had a financial safety, not comparable to the continuous budget troubles of the first years. And the quality of the programs also projected this calm and professional attitude, with international stars like Slash, Iggy Pop, The Prodigy and Therapy? entertaining the main stage crowd. In terms of program 1997 was also very strong, featuring David Bowie, Motörhead, Rollins Band, Chumbawamba and Faith No More. This was the clear breakthrough year, as the total visitor number reached 260 000, total number of programs reached 600 and even MTV was on spot to cover the event. And the international spirit of Sziget started to show: more and more foreign guests discovered the Budapest-based event, while the organizers became founders of the Yourope festival association.
The machine was rolling fine, helped by a new 3-year sponsorship deal with Pepsi. The last 2 years of the old century saw bands like Asian Dub Foundation, Faithless, Guano Apes and Kool and the Gang headlining the Pop-rock Main Stage, while Sziget also introduced the World Music Main Stage. Organizers managed to stay true to their original ideals of an artistically colorful festival, also appealing to a huge number of fans. In 2000 the total nr. of audience already reached 300 000 and the great attendance also gave the chance to achieve a Guinness world record in the category of group kissing, with the participation of 1592 couples.
This August will see the 20th edition of Sziget and we all want to celebrate in style. The aim is to see more and more people having fun, making new friends from all over the world, especially when it comes to those who have already experienced what it feels like to spend time at Sziget…
We would like to reward our loyal Sziget visitors within the framework of the anniversary with something special: Sziget fans who took part on the event in at least three different years in the past - and can prove this with photos, creditable stories and other memory contents, while also meeting the other special criteria of the offer – have the chance get this year's weekly tickets with a 50 percent discount (this only applies to weekly tickets, not dailies).
Please note that this promotion is generally designed for Hungarian residents. Of course all foreigners can take part, but realistically this is something that will only make sense for Sziget fans living in Hungary, mainly due to the fact that you need to own a Hungarian OTP Bank Paypass card to get the discount.
…and the process:
1. Register at www.sziget20.com or if you have previously registered, sign in with your Faceook or szigetfestival.com login.
2. Upload the memories. These can be photos, videos, stories, or perhaps photos of your ticket or wristband (with the number visible on it, as we can only accept each number once as a proof!), it's up to you which combination you choose.
3. Wait for our reply in which we will let you know whether or not your upload was successful, whether you are entitled to get the discount, and we will also let you know about all further steps. (If you do not receive our e-mail within 7 workdays, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
4. Provide us with your personal data in the given form, and then you will get a so-called promotional code with which you will be able to purchase your half price Sziget weekly ticket.
5. VERY IMPORTANTLY: besides uploading your Sziget memories from at least 3 different years, you also need to apply for an OTP MasterCard® PayPass™ or OTP Maestro® PayPass™ bankcard. From 2nd May you can also do this on-line, and can get more information about the process at otpbank.hu/sziget - please note that the website is only available in Hungarian language. You need to apply for the card between 2nd May and 15th July.
6. Once you have a promotional code and have also applied for a card, you can go to one of the Hungarian ticket offices of Sziget, or purchase a ticket online. You will find a link in the feedback e-mail to do this. One person can purchase one ticket within this campaign.
7. When Sziget begins, you can pick up your wristband at the entrance (it will be put on your wrist immediately) if you have a document to identify yourself, the voucher and your OTP MasterCard® PayPass™ or OTP Maestro® PayPass™ bankcard. All of these need to be under the same name - yours, of course – and make sure you do not leave any of these at home.
You can find answers to all possible question in the FAQ.
And here are the general rules of the discount program.
Sziget, like many other important Hungarian innovations, was born as a result of the free and open-minded spirit surrounding the change of the political system in the early 90’s. The general idea was simple: socialist summer youth camps were gone… and there was nothing instead.
That was the time when musician Péter Müller and manager Károly Gerendai started to discuss the necessity of a big festival, something that could provide the opportunity for young visitors to have a summer holiday, while checking out concerts and generally having fun together. The timing was quite right, as the nostalgia towards the 60’s and 70’s – highlighted by Woodstock - was easy to feel. Müller and Gerendai turned to the city of Budapest with the idea and got a supportive answer.
The first task was finding the right venue, possibly a central location that is easy to guard and more or less separated from the neighborhood. The solution was clear, Óbudai Island turned out to be the perfect place. After teaming up with some friends, the group of organizers was still without experience, office and financial support. But they had a very dedicated circle of helpers, also good advisors and soon they even got a room in a friend’s flat that they could use as headquarters. The spring of 1993 saw the formation of Sziget Ltd, based on Peter Müller’s connections and Károly Gerendai’s managing skills and savings (mainly an amount he got from his parents to buy a small flat). Lack of funding was always an issue, so creativity had to be the major capital of the team.