Three weeks ago Balaton Sound Festival, hosted a fruitful twelfth annual edition. Once a small festival, Balaton Sound has now become Hungary’s second largest festival and its most anticipated electronic music festival ever. It resides by Europe’s biggest fresh water lake, Lake Balaton in Zamárdi, Hungary. The lake has incredible sunset views and crystal clear waters, it’s understandable as to why Hungarians, and many tourists, love attending Hungary’s biggest electronic music festival annually.
The festival is about a 1h30 drive from Budapest Airport to Zamárdi and the town itself is small and beautiful, also having everything you would need. Were you to decide to go for a walk a little further out of town, you would end up surrounded by beautiful greenery and forests.
Balaton Sound takes advantage of these mesmerising views by organising boat parties which feel like intimate little treats. There are luxurious house/electronic live sets played by DJs such as Scuba B2B, Agoria and CamelPhat. The boat also has a large dancefloor giving you plenty of reason to bust your best moves on the main deck and a well-stocked bar, where you’ll be getting through drinks like they were going out of fashion. The boat tours around the lake and ends at around 10PM as the sun gently sets, just in time to see the incredible headliners.
Headlining artists started in the evening and kept us partying throughout the night and into the early hours of the morning – which is perfect if you’re a night owl. However, if you’re an early riser and want to make the most out of your day, then you’re in luck, because you’ll still have DJs playing techno/electronic/house throughout the day at the Finlandia and smaller stages by the lake. Whether you choose to soak up the sun’s rays, have a swim in the lake or vibe out on the stages, a great time will most definitely be guaranteed nevertheless.
The line-up this year was impressive with acts such as Craig David, Giggs, Disciples, DJ Snake, GoldLink, Big Sean, Black Coffee, Rita Ora and Princess Nokia to name a few who ruled the stages. Ty Dolla Sign kicked things off with a bang on Thursday as one of the main acts, playing new and old bangers for added nostalgia and also a bunch of Kanye West rhythms such as Fade, dedicating his respect. Thousands flocked to the main stage for his performance and as the crowds grew larger and more buoyant, he decided to bring a fan from the crowd on stage with him for a sing-along as his closing performance.
Later that day Giggs came in hot killing his set and causing the Jäger Arena to go up in flames. His explosive performance got the crowds getting absolutely lit up like Chinese lanterns, with new bangers such as Peligro being blasted through the speakers at ungodly volumes. Classic bangers such as Talkin’ the Hardest also made appearances causing everyone to go HAM and absolutely losing their marbles. Bravo.
When it came to Craig David’s performance, Balaton Sound had perhaps underestimated his popularity as his fans were overflowing out of the Jäger Arena tent into the festival walkways desperately trying to see him. Craig performed his TS5 set where he impressed the crowd with his DJing and singing, as well as covering the classics and treated us to a live rendition of Heartline from his new album The Time Is Now. From hosting house parties in his Miami apartment and sharing them on soundcloud 6 years ago, TS5 has gone from humble beginnings to travelling the globe and it was fantastic to get a taste of the intimate feel of his Miami home.
On the final day, Big Sean came on at the main stage warming up the crowd for French electronic artist DJ Snake. Big Sean played a great mix of old and new tunes such as I Don’t F*ck With You making an obvious appearance and, like Ty Dolla Sign, declared his respect for his mentor Kanye West, by also playing a series of Kanye songs which he features in.
Later at the main stage, came DJ Snake who was given the honour to end the festival on a high. The crowds at this point were well into the thousands, putting Donald Trump’s inauguration to shame. DJ Snake played a set he’d remixed especially for Balaton, such as Let Me Love You featuring Justin Bieber and You Know You Like It featuring AlunaGeorge. We were also in for a treat as he surprised us with his own rework of A-Trak’s remix Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, spurring spirits within the crowds to go wild ensuing in large mosh pits, pints up in the air and manic jumping.
Balaton Sound Festival is run by a group of people who have an excellent eye for visuals, design and music attracting an internationally diverse crowd and gaining recognition as a vital stop on the summer festival circuit.
Finally, a small big-up to Nori from the Balaton Sound Press Team who was an absolute star, going above and beyond even though she didn’t have to and making the whole festival experience feel seamless, stress-free and just that little bit more wonderful.
Can’t wait to see what they’ve got in store for next year.
Brian Meta | WRITER