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Sziget Festival part two: In the dust we live and dance

On the fourth day of the Sziget Festival, the circus finally reopened and the program continued as usual. The Circus is always worth a visit and the main show at 2 PM this year was the Palestinian Circus School with a very moving, political piece followed by a classical circus number by young Hungarian performers.

Right next to the circus area was the vintage fun fair where every year you can try many different games and enjoy a display of other historic attractions. The musical lineup started with the female-led Black Honey who played in the tent offering people an escape from the scorching sun.

Image above: Black Honey; image below: Kensington

Shortly after Holland’s sensation, Kensington made everyone move over to the main stage, a very fitting performance for the vibe of the festival with confetti and many Dutch fans in the crowd. Headliner Lewis Capaldi continued with an already warmed-up crowd with his fun show and touching lyrics. On one of the small side stages, Vampire Diaries star Michael Malarkey performed an intimate acoustic set with maybe 20 people in the audience. The vibe would have been perfect and he deserved a way bigger crowd, but the neighboring electronic music venue was sadly way too loud and disturbed both the musician and the audience.

The dry heat continued as the dust was rising off the scorched ground. The desperate attempt to moisturize the ground didn’t really work and so the dust issues reached their peak on Day 5 making it hard to breathe and difficult to enjoy the festival. But the show must go on. The dance and theatre field had ongoing entertainment with a mix of performances from different countries and improvisations by various dancers creating a space for everyone to sit back and take a break.

Image above: Baits; image below: Palaye Royale followed by Sigrid

A newcomer Austrian band Baits won one of the early slots in a radio competition and absolutely deserved the spotlight. Canadian-American rockers Palaye Royale were able to gather all the emo kids in the tent and allowed everyone to bring their last bit of energy into countless mosh pits. The band had a strong crowd connection and gorgeous outfits – always a welcome bonus. Norwegian pop sensation Sigrid was the fresh wind everyone needed and her happy, simple and down-to-earth performance was a nice change from all the high-production shows.

The lineup continued with more pop by the English singer Anne-Marie who, accompanied by two huge blue teddy bears, let everyone feel the pain of their past heartbreaks. The last highlight on this day were Australia’s Tame Impala, their psychedelic show intro fit the whole vibe perfectly and understandably the smell of weed was floating all around the main stage.

Image above: Anne-Marie; image below: Tame Impala

Sadly many new names and talents to watch played extremely late between 1 and 3 AM which because of the dust issue resulted in people missing the sets they wanted to see, after hours of daytime dancing these late dusty hours were unbearable.

On the last day, the Vietnamese National Puppetry Theatre returned with a must-see performance. This particular puppet theatre is well known for its attention to detail and unique approach to the craft, foreign to many Western visitors.

The tent lineup was a win as well and the Danish punk rocker Ice Age did a great job firing up the crowd for the Irland’s Inhalers who continued a bit slower but that was to be expected. Even though it was a very alternative day in this venue, Princess Nokia changed this up a bit with a rather confusing show – the first two songs she didn’t even come out on stage for, and then Nokia was simply playing with a water gun until she finally took the mic to say she has asthma and has to take it slow in the dust which ended in most songs being on playback.

Image above: Inhalers; image below: Princess Nokia

The last headliner of the day were the Arctic Monkeys and they seemed to learn their lesson from the 2018 set when they had the exact same slot and people began to leave the show early because the band was playing mostly just new tracks. This setlist focused on all the old hits and everyone born in the 90s went crazy. It was obvious though that many members of the younger crowd didn’t know them since their last great album came out nearly 10 years ago when many of them were maybe around 10 years old. Like all of their recent shows, this set felt rather uninspired, not even like a promo for their upcoming album but a way to pay the bills.

To finish the week off, Fontaines DC delivered a great show with a beautiful background and a set that got more energetic with each song, wrapping up with huge balloons released over the crowd – a memorable high note for a rather rough festival week (image below).

Needless to say, Sziget 2022 was rough, but they swim on a legendary legacy that we all hope to see in full colour next year. Cheers for now.

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Missed part one of the coverage? See it here: Sziget Festival part one: The vibe and the energetic start

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