Go wild at Budapest’s annual Stagediving Festival
The noble art of stagediving is not one you would readily associate with Hungary. Iggy, Jimbo and Jagger were great stagedivers all – Dutch fans of the Rolling Stones demonstrated the first public stagedive in 1964 and Mr.Pop is credited with the first crowdsurf. So it’s a pleasant surprise to find that this Friday will not only see a Stagediving Festival at the Dürer kert but the 15th annual running of this traditional event, featuring 15 bands performing in three concert halls – and a whole bunch of leaping around. We speak to Péter Kovács, festival founder and organizer.
“The idea for a Stagediving Festival came about with Watch My Dying,” said Kovács, referring to the Esztergom extreme metal band he now promotes. “We had just released the LP Klausztrofónia and were playing live all over Hungary, Slovakia and so on. We wanted to set up a special event that showcases our kind of music at one place on one night.”
The night in question was November 11th 2005 and the success of the show meant there was another the following year, then the next…
“We began to invite bands from Austria, Germany and around the region,” explained Kovács. “Pretty soon this was one of the most important happenings in the Hungarian music calendar.”
For the last five years, the Stagediving Festival has been held at the Dürer kert, a temple to punk, metal and thrash of all stripes, set alongside the City Park. Its history is wonderfully incongruous with its current function – the building was once a school run by French Sacré Coeur nuns then used by top Communist Party leaders for swimming and relaxation.
Most of all, the Dürer kert has flexibility, and so can easily accommodate the 1,000-plus potential stagedivers expected for Friday night. Five acts will tread the boards in the Great Hall, the Small Hall and Room 041.
“This year I would watch out for Vienna’s Turbobier, very big right now, number one in Austria for music videos and a great live act,” Kovács suggested, highlighting perhaps the only punk combo to have their beer, board game and political party, the Bierpartei, natürlich.
“Omega Diatribe will be playing their first gig with their new line-up. Counter Clockwise are a fun bunch of skatepunks and Divided have just released their first full-length album, ‘Modulus’. Theirs is a more melodic form of metal.”
Dürer kert, 1146 Budapest, Ajtósi Dürer sor 19-21. Trolleybus 75/night bus 979 to Ötvenhatosok tere.