Balaton Sound is, hands down, one of the most interesting and genuinely fun festival you can find in Europe. Since 2007 it’s a steady presence on the shores of the great lake Balaton, just 100km away from Budapest, where it gained popularity through the years establishing itself as a more blissfull and thought-free experience than it’s older brother, Sziget Festival.
And it’s thanks to the over 30-years of professional experience of the Sziget crew that Balaton became such a smooth party: during the span of 4 days, from 29 June to 2 July more than 150.000 party goers gathered on the shores of a pretty much flawless beach party, but what are the reasons of this success? Here’s 4 reason why Balaton Sound is indeed unique among its peers.
Starting with the main reason people choose to go to a festival, Balaton’s line-up is really something else. Yes, it lacks the music diversity that Sziget got us used to, choosing to stick with an all-electronic program that spans through EDM, Techno, DnB, Dubstep and House, but ironically that makes Balaton Sound somehow a less “casual” festival than what the “Isle Of Freedom” offers in terms of artists and performances. Even though the guests on the mainstage looks like they’ve been harvested from the Top20 Dj Mag chart (Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Alesso, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Timmy Trumpet, Alok, Lost Frequencies, Topic…), the other stages take it to another level with some really interesting choices of exclusive live performances from high-profile artists that rarely does so: you can enjoy a Paul Kalkbrenner‘s dreamy live set, a launch-pad driven performance from What So Not, an energic dubstep concert from Modestep with a whole live band supporting the act, or even an unplanned b2b set between two techno legends such as Joseph Capriati and Jamie Jones until the sunrise…you can find something spectacular every time you’ll check the program on Sound’s companion app, whichever your taste is.
Following the same MO of Sziget, Balaton Sound‘s mainstage also follow some pretty strict working hours, with 3 main artists scheduled for each day (2 support, 1 headliner), who entertain the crowd from 6pm to 11pm with light effects, lasers, air cannons and flamethrowers. But when the last firework goes out behind the lake, the real magic begins and the 3 other stages brings out the big guns:
The Dreher Arena is the perfect choice if you’re looking for something powerful and gritty, that’s the shelter for every Hardstyle, DnB and Dubstep fan who’s looking for a blast. Vini Vici, Modestep, What So Not, Blastoyz, Yellow Claw, Moksi, Sikdope are just some of the names that made the crowd jump and kept the adrenaline flowing.
If you’re looking for something more than a brainless moshpit, Viper B Stage got you covered: here you could find some of the most unique performances of the whole festival, from Giorgia Angiuli, Deborah De Luca, Paul Kalkbrenner, to Ben Bohmer, Monolink, Gioli & Assia and Sven Vath, everyone with their own live sets, using synths, launch-pads, voice modulators and samplers. Viper B Stage gave space to creativity, making you realize how those artists are way more than just “simple djs” and contributing to make it one of the most peculiar place in the whole festival.
Elrow @ Coca-Cola Stage is the mecca of every techno and tech house lover, in addiction to being the most esthetical of the stages: powered by the Elrow team, the best techno fiesta party in the world, the whole stage is on another level, presenting a Bermuda’s Triangle theme (or “Rowmudas”, as it has been renamedfor the occasion) with huge puppets overcoming the crowd, sea creatures hanging from the ceiling and, obvioulsy, tons of confetti and gadgets! Meduza, Loco Dice, Joseph Capriati, Jamie Jones, Danny Tenaglia, Pan-Pot are just some of the high calibre names Elrow called upon to guide the ravers until the sunrise on the Balaton lake.
Along those three and the mainstage you’ll find some other quirky places, like the Radio 1 Stage, powered by the biggest hungarian national radio, with an energic, all-night selection of EDM dj sets, for the careless party goers who wants to keep up the mood after the mainstage closure; while the Red Beach and White Beach stages, located directly on the shores, were the perfect kickstarters for the day while you chill in the waters. Lastly, an honourable mention goes to the Belgian Camping stage (a new addiction to Balaton Sound’s campings due to the massive presence of Belgian ravers that storms the event every year, creating a really solid community) where Flemish Djs took in the decks at noon creating a very intimate and super fun atmosphere, perfect as a muscular awakening before entering the festival.
Balaton Sound really makes you feel free to do anything you want, because you are free indeed! Differently from most of its counterparts around Europe, the camping sites aren’t directly connected to the festival’s entrance, leaving you free to roam around in and out of the vene as you please but also able o bring in (or out) any kind of beverage and food from the outside (with the usual limitations for drugs and spirits, of course); you can also take a walk in the near town of Zamardi, with its restaurants and services, or take a walk or a bike ride around the shores. Last but not least, the prices are on par with the Hungarians’ lifestyle, making it one of the cheapest festival around, whether you’re looking for a drink or a snack at one of the countless ethnic food halls, ranging from chinese to greek cuisine, to hungarian and italian.
Maybe it will sound a little corny, but having the biggest lake of Central Europe a couple of steps from the mainstage is really a game changer, especially when you can both see the sunset and sunrise behind it during the party days, every time you’ll look around you’ll see a breathtaking scene. The weather in Zamardi is very merciful too, with high temperatures mitigated by dry winds that keeps the lake water at a perfect temperature (even though those strong winds caused a momentairly stop during day 3 that saw the reschedule of a couple of acts in order to keep everyone safe). Another plus is the accessibility of the venue, both by car (free and secured parking? Feels like an utopia!) and by plane, with official trasfers from/to the airport directly to the camping sites.
Wrapping everything up, Balaton Sound isn’t just its (massive) line-up, it isn’t even just a simple beach party with some nice names; it’s the total package, balancing everything a proper EDM festival needs: music till the morning, low prices, laidback people, nice weather and, most importantly, it really is so damn FUN!
See you next year!