Where all come together and unite as one
Hello Dear Hajji Fans,
Wrote this a couple of days ago in Croatia, and now will post it from Sarajevo. We have had an eventful weekend here involving some burglery. We'll post the details soon. About happier things though.....
The blog is divergent, the blog is amiss, the blog is awash in a sea of bliss
Writing from a town just north of Split in Croatia, we've decided to catch things up and send out a bunch of goody godness for the internet to see. The Hajji swims through the Balkans everyday, wracking up the kilometers and making people gasp in happiness at every turn. Lets visit the past and talk about a festival which was unlike all the others.....
Sziget Festival - August 10th to 17th
Ben sweaty and happy in the Fatboy Slim crowd
As with the other festivals we visited (Fusion Festival in Germany and Exit Festival in Serbia) there is simply too many memories to recall on a blog. But without question, Sziget Festival, held on Obudai Island on the Danube River in Budapest, was our favorite. It was the longest (a week long), the largest (over 400,000 people attending) and presented the most diverse lineup of artists (from rock to electronic to balkan to blues to world to mongolian throat singers to to to). It also served as an epic meeting point for some of our favorite European friends, and our camp at the festival was nearly 15 people. The week we spent there was incredible. Cruising the island in the sun, drinking beers by the bucket, living in and around the Hajj, it was truely phenomenal. Having visited a number of festivals in Europe and in Canada, this one is hands-down the best. The environment is so relaxed and diverse, with people from all over the continent converging annually for this memorable week. Being situated on an island in the city, it is possible to leave out into the city (on our Dutch bikes which we have carted around) and see Budapest (a.k.a. try to sneak in more alcohol disguised as water bottles...whiched worked)
Some of the Hajji crew (Neala, Alex, Lauren and Brett) partying in the INSANE crowd of Prodigy
The best part of this festival was the people. We were met by my dear Kiwi friend Brett, a true disaster and party spirit extrodinaire Alex Derry, our dutch delights Anke, Ineke and Marjolijn, our Istanbul hosts Isa and Daniel to add to our crew of Scottish Morgan, Canadian Neala and Foget (the best) and Me, Marcus and Ren. To have so many lovely people togethor at one place and one time is something which will be difficult to replace. Everyone who enters the Hajji is always a delight, and we miss these gems so much.
A good portion of the Hajji Crew (Neala, Foget, Marcus, Brett, Ineke, Marjolijn, Daniel, Morgan, Ben, Alex, Lauren) after Coldcuts
Another amazing aspect of Sziget is that it is not all just music. Situated on an island, there is all the sports you can imagine (football, rugby, ping pong, table hockey, etc), countless activites (like portrait drawing! see below...) and spectacles and excitement going on at every turn. Amazing, i repeat amazing.
Neala drawing a beautiful portrait of Daniel in the afternoon
The music was incredible and we wanted to link some of our favorite acts from the festival. The group often split up to see many different acts, but here are some that I can recall offhand
Birdy Nam Nam - A 4-man French DJ team (who I have seen at 2 festivals prior) really got us going
Boban Markovic - Playing with an American Balkan team, this massive brass orchestra was the final concert (Sunday night) for us and REALLY got us sweaty and moving. Alex crowd surfed about half a dozen times....
Fatboy Slim - Super famous DJ playing at the mainstage (40,000+ people!) was a rowdy time. See video posted below....
Haydamaky - A Ukranian Band which played Balkan Style music which made us kick and stomp.
Coldcuts - A UK DJ team with a 4-man string orchestra which also had a very visual show about global climate change. Student Workforce styles....
Speedcaravan - The Algerian Desert meets Jimi Hendrix. ROCK!
Notwist - Chilled out music from Berlin
Hangai - Mongolian Throat Singing Band
The Prodigy, Lily Allen, The Ting Tings, Jet, Placebo, Faith No More, Amadou and Miriam, Antwerp Gypsy Ska Orchestra, and so on and so on. It is too difficult to remember all the amazing bands but there were many more (check out the full lineup athttp://www.sziget.hu/fesztival/?language=en ) . If you like festivals, you NEED to go to this one!!!
Blurry shot of the lightshow at The Notwist
After the festival the Hajjis berth swelled, with many of our crew wanting to continue the adventure. We had to say goodbye to Morgan, a true gentlemen and scholar, and left him with some Germans on the island. We filled to 8 and drove to the baths of Budapest (an amazing detox/cleansing after a festival) and then headed to Vienna....
The Hajji crew in the baths of Budapest
Baths of Budapest