What would a summer be without music festivals? These mass events under a blue sky (hopefully) are as inseparable from the season as ice-cream and sun lotion. This series is looking at the most important Hungarian festivals, and this week is Bánkitó, a relatively small event that has been gaining popularity among the young in the past few years.
There was a time when music festivals were a place to rebel and experience an alternative way of living. Today the great festivals must repeatedly face the accusation that they are all about business. After all, many music events are no longer for social rebels or small groups, as the original plan might have been for Woodstock.
The organisers of Bánkitó Fesztivál from July 13 to 16 want to change this again, however. “We have been working for seven years to establish a festival in Hungary that gives its visitors a social message,” they say.
Concert, theatre, round-table talks
The small festival in northern Hungary offers a program full of all artistic areas, such as music, theatre and applied arts. These are complemented by round-table conversations, presentations about social topics and workshops.
More than 50 civilian organisations, more than 30 artists and artist collectives, and seven theatre groups will be represented this year. As in previous years, the organisers focus on actual political challenges: this year the topic “borders” will be reflected in the more than 100 program points of the festival.
Besides solving the problems of humanity, this festival is also about dancing, bathing and lying lazily in the sun, of course. The musical atmosphere will be ensured primarily by Hungarian acts, such as Fran Palermo, iamyank and the Bohemian Betyars.
Szabó Benedek, who was already there in 2015, will appear, next to mainstream bands such as Ivan and the Parazol. In addition to all this there will be some international DJs at the four-day event.
Small but wow
It’s only natural that Bánkitó with its small budget can’t really compete with the giant commercial festivals in Hungary, such as Volt or Balatonsound. With its annual 10,000 visitors it is David against Goliath. And yet, just like in the biblical story, the small festival has been highly praised, even by Sziget Festival founder Károly Gerendai.
“These kinds of festivals, where the company and the feeling of belonging together is more important than the bands on the stage, will be becoming more and more successful in the future,” Gerendai says.
Bánkitó Fesztivál, which is indeed becoming more and more popular, got its name from its location, namely the shore of Bánki Lake. Bánk is an idyllic village in Nográd County and can be reached by the M2 driving north in less than an hour from Budapest.
Or catch a train to Vác from Nyugati Railway Station (there are regular connections) and from Vác you can take a Volán bus directly to the festival.
Location: Bánk, on the shore of Bánki Lake
Ticket prices (until July 1, after which they go up): festival ticket HUF 22,000, daily ticket HUF 9000