Summer? Festivals!

By: Budai Klára Date: 2024. 03. 27. 09:54

The Covid period has brought serious challenges to the festival industry, the ripple effects of which are still being felt. With many people leaving the sector, finding skilled and experienced staff is one of the biggest challenges for both organisers and catering partners.

This article is available for reading in Trade magazin 2024/4

Tamás Garam
head of marketing
Sziget Cultural Management Office

“It is increasingly valuable for visitors if a festival pays special attention to improving the guest experience. This is equally true for the diversity of programmes, the variety and quality of services, or even the visual appearance of festivals”,

says Tamás Garam, head of marketing at Sziget Cultural Management Office Zrt.

Music and gastronomy for every age group

In 2023 a new era began in the life of Balaton Sound.

Dominika Berzy
social media & content
marketing manager
Sziget Cultural Management Office

 “On the one hand, this was reflected in the diversity of the musical offering, in the strengthening of different genres of electronic music, but also in the renewal of the visuals, the VIP experience, plus the emphasis on beach activities and the diversity of daytime programmes”,

explains Dominika Berzy, social media and content marketing manager of Sziget Cultural Management Office Zrt.

Last year the company improved the visuals of Sziget, redesigned the venues, revamped the catering and introduced a number of innovations in other convenience services. As regards the MBH Bank Gourmet Festival, it has been the most popular culinary event in Hungary almost from the beginning, presenting a large selection of Hungary’s best gastronomic offerings, restaurants, confectioneries and wineries every year. Children’s Island is one of the biggest family events in Hungary, with concerts by popular performers, puppet theatre, dance, quizzes, sports, jugglers and artists, a bouncy castle, crafts and much more for families to enjoy.



It is increasingly valued by visitors if a festival pays special attention to enhancing the guest experience

“With our four events, Sziget, Sound, Gourmet and Children’s Island, we work with around 200 partners. Our sponsors come from many different sectors and we try to enter into agreements with each partner that fit the nature of the festival, give partners a relevant presence”,

says Nóra Pintér, head of sponsorship at Sziget Cultural Management Office Zrt.

Last year, Sziget continued the “greening of the festival” programme, which has always been a priority.

“With Sziget festival one of last year’s innovations was to increase the sustainability of catering, and this effort will return this year. A key goal is to serve food prepared with a smaller carbon footprint”,

says Ákos Dominus, sustainability manager of Sziget Cultural Management Office Zrt.

Budapest Wine Festival, the prestige event

In 2022, as an aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the events market was still experiencing a drop in demand and attendance for cultural and entertainment programmes compared to previous levels. In 2023 the situation started to improve, but the numbers still fell short of 2019 levels, at least for the Budapest Wine Festival.

Rita Oláh
communications manager
of Budapest Wine Festival
Hungarian Viti- and Viniculture Nonprofit Kft.

“In 2023 the weather was perfect, and there was nearly full house on Friday and Saturday evenings and Thursday late afternoon was also strong, but Sunday attendance has been declining for several years. In total we received nearly 35,000 guests during the four days of the Budapest Wine Festival, which isn’t a bad result considering the preceding events and our expectations”,

says Rita Oláh, communications manager of Budapest Wine Festival at Hungarian Viti- and Viniculture Nonprofit Kft.

She adds that visitors demand quality and modern services, including the products on offer, the environment, the atmosphere, the visual appearance of the stands, the marketing tools and the services of the Wine Festival, which the company is trying to deliver. Environmental consciousness has always been important, e.g. for more than ten years now they have been collecting rubbish selectively, and from this year the cutlery and serving bowls and plates for food can only be made from biodegradable materials.



Festivals are also “country tastings”: a one-stop shop for the best of local cuisine

Gyula, the capital of pálinka

Attendance at the Gyula Pálinka Festival was approximately the same in both 2022 and 2023, and fell just short of the expectations of organisers.

Tímea Varga-Bora
chief organiser
Gyulai Pálinka Festival

“This is largely due to the fact that there are innumerable festivals, many of which are free municipal events. We are hopeful that the 2024 festival will once again generate an outstanding attendance. Every year 20-30 pálinka distilleries come from basically all regions in Hungary. Most exhibitors are active participants in our professional programmes, such as the pálinka competition, the pálinka bonbon competition, the cooking show with pálinka as an ingredient, and the master courses”,

says Tímea Varga-Bora, chief organiser of the Gyula Pálinka Festival.

The organisers try to cut down on plastic waste with a logoed glass pálinka glass or a reusable cup. Both are taken home by visitors and are usually brought back in subsequent years.


More and more young festival-goers expect festivals to be “as green as possible”

As for the Csabai Sausage Festival, in addition to the venue changes in recent years, a number of innovations have been made, such as the introduction of cashless payment, reusable cups to reduce the environmental impact, selective waste collection, and the recultivation of the environment by planting trees and grass. “We are also putting bigger emphasis on attracting young people, so we are trying to feature more youthful musical styles to the festival’s programme”, explains Ilona Hégelyné Győrfi, managing director of Csabai Rendezvényszervező Kft. //

Strict Nébih inspections

Catering establishments set up at festivals are inspected from a food safety point of view by the National Food Chain Safety Office (Nébih), as well as by the experts of the county government offices and district offices.

Tóth Dávid, Nebih

Dávid Tóth
head of catering and mass catering inspection dept.

“Overworking the staff can be a problem when there is a big crowd, but lower than expected guest numbers can also be an issue. The slow use of ingredients can lead to the risk of using and selling food with expired shelf life. In 2023 one of the most common faults was the storage of cooking ingredients, semi-finished and finished products at inappropriate temperatures, creating a risk of cross-contamination”,

says Dávid Tóth, the head of the Nébih’s catering and mass catering inspection department. //

Hearty meals from the Fornetti Truck

Kitti Kelemen-Pataki
creative director

“Fornetti tries to be present at every festival that is traditionally one of young people’s community-building events, and have a theme that our company can identify with”,

says Kitti Kelemen-Pataki, creative director of Fornetti Kft.

A special kiosk, a so-called Food Truck, is the basis of the company’s festival presence. This is a rolling, four-wheel, street food type mobile bakery, which showcases all the products festival-goers like. //



Coca-Cola – festival appearance in the spirit of sustainability

Coca-Cola Magyarország is designing its festival appearances in line with its sustainability principles, for example the COKE STUDIO™ – set up at several festivals last year – was partly made of recycled elements.

Tóth Judit Szalóky
director of public affairs, communications and sustainability
Coca-Cola Magyarország

“Awareness raising is also important and we will continue with our sustainability-related festival activities this year”,

says Judit Tóth Szalóky, director of public affairs, communications and sustainability at Coca-Cola Magyarország.

Annamária Vida
senior brand manager

Annamária Vida, Coca-Cola’s senior brand manager:

“This year Coca-Cola Magyarország will be present at Sziget Festival, SZIN and Strand Festival. In addition to making our products available, experience-based marketing communication will also play an important role in this year’s festival season”. //




Aldi is always there

For years ALDI has been a committed supporter and partner of sporting events and festivals.

Last year ALDI welcomed families to the Children’s Island, and was also present at Balaton Sound and Sziget with its diverse, affordable and reliable selection of quality products. The pop-up store at Sziget made shopping convenient and fast. At the first weekend of May participants had the opportunity to meet ALDI at the UltraBalaton running festival, and at the beginning of June the 28th ALDI Women’s Running Gala was organised in the Népliget in Budapest. //

METRO brings its products and services

Sándor Kovács
head of HoReCa sales

In 2023 METRO was involved in 100 festivals and big events in the summer months alone.

“We provide the high quality services to catering businesses that they are used to and expect from us at festivals, primarily by supplying cooking ingredients, professional kitchen utensils and packaging materials, which are also available to partners with delivery”,

explains Sándor Kovács, head of HoReCa sales at METRO.

The company adapts its product and service offerings to the latest culinary trends and needs. //

Experiences from Dreher

Ibolya Szabó
head of corporate affairs
Dreher Breweries

Dreher Breweries prefers festivals where the target group of their main brands can be reached, and where they feel there is an opportunity to communicate brand values and brand experience to their customers in a tangible form.

“We tend to be there with more brands at different beer festivals, where we can reach a larger than average group of beer lovers. These consumers like to try special beers in addition to the traditional lagers”,

says Ibolya Szabó, head of corporate affairs at Dreher Breweries. //


DunaPro delivers the festival atmosphere

Csenge Bujdosó
brand manager

“DunaPro tries to choose events where we can strengthen the brand awareness and build the brand, so we strive to make our brand presence as spectacular and unique as possible”,

explains Csenge Bujdosó, DunaPro’s brand manager.

Kamarás Ádám
brand ambassador

“By showing up at festivals, we wish to create a personal relationship between consumers and the brands (e.g. Aperol, Campari, Cinzano), and serve them in a form and quality that gives the most memorable experience for everyone”,

adds brand ambassador Ádám Kamarás. //


Hair style is important at festivals too, so let’s leave it to Henkel!

Eszter Guba
brand manager
Henkel Magyarország

Henkel Magyarország Kft.’s Schwarzkopf LIVE and Got2b brands were there at the Sziget Festival last year.

“The main target audience for our brands at festivals are Generation Z and Y consumers, who make up the vast majority of festival visitors”,

says junior brand manager Eszter Guba.

Last year Henkel offered free hairstyling to festival-goers, where braids and wavy hairstyles were the most popular. //


Heinemann is everywhere

Heinemann Testvérek Kft. targets the standard and premium categories in its choice of festival venues, both in terms of target group and brand.

Piri Attila, Heinemann

Attila Piri
marketing director

“We will be present at Sziget and Balaton Sound VIP with premium products such as Beluga vodka, while Jim Beam Whisky will turn up at the Campus and SZIN festivals with its own venues”,

explains Attila Piri, marketing director of Heinemann Testvérek Kft.

This year their new product at festivals will be Jim Beam Peach, with a unique long drink offering for consumers. //

Maspex-Olympos goes to festivals with a large selection of drinks

Maspex Olympos Kft. is targeting young adults and university students with its Royal vodka brand at festivals.

Andrea Kiss
marketing director
Maspex Olympos

“In addition to vodka, a selection of liqueurs and from this year bitter liqueurs are also available”, informs marketing director Andrea Kiss.


Zoárd Trömböczky
brand manager
Maspex Olympos

“Festivals can have a big impact on our direct sales, but our main goal is to exploit the marketing value of festivals and to make a brand known to as many people as possible”, adds brand manager Zoárd Trömböczky. //





No festival without Zwack

Zwack Unicum Nyrt.’s Tanqueray brand has been the official gin partner of the Sziget and Heineken Balaton Sound festivals for three years now.

Kovács Dávid Gábor, Zwack

Dávid Gábor Kovács
marketing director

“Even at one festival, we highlight different brands for different target groups. Don Julio ultra-premium tequila will be featured in the VIP section of Sziget Festival this year. Many of the performers will be treated to personalised bottles during the festival”,

says marketing director Dávid Gábor Kovács.

In order to promote responsible alcohol consumption, Sziget-goers will be the first who can taste Tanqueray 0.0% in Hungary. //

Related news