In a recent interview with Forbes Hungary, Sziget founder Károly Gerendai shed some light on the situation regarding Sziget 2021. After selling 70% of his ownership in Sziget in 2017, Gerendai also took a step back from the operative works and organization of the festival. Currently he still has 15% ownership at Sziget.
Financial struggles of Sziget 2021
Gerendai explained in the interview that financially it is very difficult to make any plans for next year, and it has a huge effect on Sziget for 2021. He said “I am optimistic that next year it will be possible to organize smaller festivals for the local audience. However, international events are a bit more complicated. With these events it is important to know in advance the number of visitors you can expect and how much money you can spend. So far this has always depended on early-bird ticket sales. However, this year we could not start selling tickets. It wouldn’t make any sense to do so before February-March, as no one knows anything about next summer. This raises the question whether it is worth organizing an event that requires a budget of nearly €28 million.”
He believes there is still some time until March, but the risks are also high. “Usually Sziget tickets are available for pre-sale since October. Around this time last year we have sold 30% of our festival passes. In March 2020 this number was at 50%.” They have also taken a loan worth €4 million for Sziget.
What happens next?
Based on these remarks from Gerendai, we only see that Sziget faces a planning issue coming from financial reasons. Unlike other major festivals around Europe, Sziget has been silent regarding next year. Unfortunately the whole Hungarian festival scene is uncertain about 2021, we barely see any updates or announcements. Moreover, currently we do not hear any updates either from the Hungarian government on how the cultural sector will return. This might be the reason behind not starting the ticket sales for Sziget yet. However, it is important to stay optimistic and wait for official news regarding the festival season of 2021. Let’s hope that Sziget will return and most of the acts announced for 2020 will be booked for next year.
The original article by Forbes Hungary – including the video interview – is available in Hungarian here.