April 25th, 2012

Sziget Festival Unveils OTP-Friendly “Loyalty Program” as New Headliner Announcement Met with Yawns

This year’s 20th annual Sziget Fesztival is shaping up to be just like that Christmas when you asked for a Nintendo and instead received board games: lots of anticipation-filled waiting followed by a massive letdown. It’s the last week of April, and the Sziget organizers announced on Monday that in addition to the Stone Roses, LMFAO (why?) and Korn (even more why?), the newest headliner would be The Killers, who last played in 2008, as well as other bands we honestly didn’t even know existed.

In a tacit admission that the lineup for this year is really underwhelming, the moderator at the festival’s official Facebook page was quick to respond to complaints that other headliners are still forthcoming, thereby hoping to placate everyone complaining about all the recycled items announced for this year.

In different Sziget news, the organizers have also announced a plan for regular visitors to receive a “loyalty price”, whereby if they can prove they’ve been to three festivals over the years, they can buy a ticket for half off (in Hungarian). Sounds great, until you read the fine print and realize that you also have to apply for a charge card issued by OTP Bank to get said discount.

With the lineup shaping up the way it is, it’ll probably only be worth going out for one or two days at most anyway.

And here is what people were saying back before we forced readers to use Facebook to comment. Weren't those the days?
  1. BB says:

    I disagree, actually. It’s not the greatest lineup ever but it’s not the worst either. Every year people always say “not as good as last year”.
    And if you really don’t know who The Ting Tings, Paolo Nutini, The Pogues, The Vaccines, Caro Emerald, Bebel Gilberto and Noah & The Whale are, then I wonder just how abreast of the musical zeitgeist you guys actually are.

  2. Zoltán Csipke says:

    That observation was in reference to the latest list of acts announced Monday, where aside from the Killers the only band I’d heard of was Anti-Flag.

  3. @BB says:

    with the exception of The Pogues, all the acts you mention are crap…

  4. Eszter2009 says:

    Zoltan, have you checked out really how popular The Stone Roses are in Europe at the moment? They sell out everywhere in Western Europe pretty much immediately at a price, which would be equivalent to at least two days’ Szigetting. They just reformed so are very much in demand. The Killers, meanwhile, are a ridiculous addition. They will have played three times in the past five years! Sziget underwhelms as usual.

    • Zoltán Csipke says:

      I’m well aware that the Stone Roses are popular, especially if they haven’t played live in about fifteen years or so. If I bought tickets to see a band the same day I would go check them out, but the thing is, aside from “Love Spreads” on Second Coming, they haven’t really released anything worth listening to since 1989.

  5. Eszter2009 says:

    @Zoltan, very true. They haven’t released anything of note in 20 years or so.

    This year’s line up is one of the worst in the past 10 years and the standard hasn’t exactly been breathtaking.

  6. yo Zoltan! says:

    I think Eszter2009 fancies you, but is a bit on the shy side…

  7. Harry says:

    In my opinion, this article says more about the writer than about the festival. He either is very selfish because he wants Sziget to book only acts he likes, or he just has way too high expectations.

    The last addition also featured some great names of the electronic music scene, like DJ Fresh, Flux Pavilion, Crookers, High Contrast, Modeselektor, Borgore and Azari & III. If the writer doesn’t know these names, he clearly isn’t into electronic music.

    I can understand the writer doesn’t like LMFAO, but as far as I know they are not a headliner. And why complain about them? There’s many people who like them and also many people who don’t like them, but it’s not like all the people that don’t like them have to go watch their show. At the same time many other acts will be performing! Just let the people that like LMFAO have their party, complaining about them is just very selfish!

    I agree Korn and The Stone Roses aren’t very strong headliners, but do you really expect Sziget to have five or six very strong headliners? I think that’s far from realistic, as these acts cost so much more than the average Sziget headliners. The only way Sziget could achieve this, would probably be to skip all the other acts and make it a ‘one-gig-a-day’ festival. I am sure at least 90% of the Sziget visitors would prefer Sziget the way it is now.

    I like Sziget because they always put up a line-up with a great number of good acts. Yes, there are not that many top level acts, but the number of lower level acts that make a great show always is huge, this year too! And also there always are many, many good acts to discover. For me this makes Sziget a much better festival than festivals that always have impressive headliners, like for example Rock Werchter or Rock Am Ring. When the headliners aren’t performing, these festivals are really boring for 80% of the time, while at Sziget there always is something cool going on somewhere, for a whole week long!

    • Zoltán Csipke says:

      Harry, you’re correct, I’m not particularly into electronic music anymore. Most of the acts/djs I know fall into the “uncool” category these days.

      But to answer your other question, do I expect Sziget to have five or six very strong headliners? No, I don’t. But I would expect at least one.

      • Harry says:

        Well then, if you’re not into electronic music, don’t complain about an announcement that for a big part consists of electronic acts. Electronic music is a part of the festival too and many people like that.

        I can understand you expect at least one very big headliner, I expect that too. But still it isn’t clear to me why you are so negative about the line-up right now. It’s the end of April, there’s about a hundred days to go to the festival, tickets are still available for early bird prices and Sziget has a history of announcing the biggest headliners quite late. Last year the two biggest headliners were announced in June and July! There’s still plenty of time left and I’m sure the organisers will come up with some very strong act(s) like Prince and The Prodigy last year (I know The Prodigy is not a good headliner to many Hungarians as they’ve been in Hungary too often, but internationally it’s a very good one), or like Muse the year before.

        Once the full line-up is known, then you can judge it. But until that time arrives, I think you can better listen to the acts that have been announced already and improve your knowledge of them. The Sziget Festival is a great occasion to get to know some bands you did not really know before.

        • ribizlix says:

          Hello Sziget Press Office?

          Of course we all want bands we like to be there, how is that selfish? If you like indie/rock there isn’t much going apart from some rather new acts like Two Door, Vaccines etc. Where are the middle/big acts like in years past? Apart from the Killers and Stone Roses there aren’t any. Gaslight Anthem, Black Keys, BRMC, Band of Skulls, Biffy Clyro, the Strokes etc. or invite some old ones back. Unless there are a good handful of bands I really like, I’m not forking over for flights in peak season. I hope you are right, more acts are announced, and soon.

          • Harry says:

            Haha, I wish I could work there. Do you think I would be doing a good job? But apart from probably not having the right qualifications, I guess it’s not possible because I don’t live in Hungary.

            Surely it’s not selfish to hope for some bands you like, that’s what almost everyone does indeed (I know some of my friends totally don’t care about the line-up, hence the word ‘almost’). But if one doesn’t care about what others want to see (for example some electronic acts) and writes so negative about an announcement because there are not enough acts in it from his own wish list, I do think selfishness could be one of the reasons for doing that. But like I already wrote, I consider too high expectations a possible reason for the negativity of this article too.

            Of course it would be great if Sziget would book some of the acts you mentioned, but I think this is something you should rather hope for than expect. If you would really expect Sziget to book some of them, that would make me think your expectations are too high. And after looking at the touring schedules of the bands you mentioned, I’m even more convinced that you better not expect Sziget to book these bands:

            The Black Keys are touring through Scandinavia and don’t seem to have time for Sziget, Band Of Skulls is in the USA at the time of Sziget, and BRMC, Biffy Clyro and The Strokes seem not to be touring at all in August, so this only leaves Gaslight Anthem as a possible act to be announced. However, it is still a question whether Gaslight Anthem wants to come to Europe a little earlier for Sziget, as they are in the USA before Sziget and have their first gig in Europe in the weekend after Sziget.

            But on a more positive note, in the last years I have seen many great gigs at Sziget by upcoming or unknown indie/rock acts, so I believe the Sziget programmers have a good eye for upcoming, talented bands. For example last year I discovered The Maccabees at Sziget. Right now they are praised by many for making one of the best records of the year. So, who knows, maybe in a few years we will all be thinking back of the year that superstars TDCC and Vaccines were at Sziget. ;)

            Thanks to that thought, together with the already announced electronic acts and the thought that more acts will be announced later, I’m sure I will once again have a great time at Sziget.

  8. Adam says:

    Like others, I was pretty disappointed when The Killers were announced last week – particularly as I was there in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and they played twice during that time…

    However, over the past week I’ve been thinking about the time I’ve spent at Sziget and how my favourite memories (or lack thereof) rarely relate to seeing big-name bands on the main stage. For me, the whole atmosphere of the festival is a big drawcard, as well as meeting like-minded people and checking out the different stages/areas.

    I wasn’t anywhere near the main stage when The Killers were there the last two times and I don’t plan on being there this year – a perfect excuse to get out and discover some new bands.

    Obviously, just everyone else, I’d like some bigger names (or more bands that I’m into) to be announced, but it’s not going to make or break the festival for me…

    Cheers from Australia

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