The weekend starts here – gigs, films, festivals & more
Shows, movies, concerts and cultural attractions – Budapest is always buzzing. Each week, we gather all of the important happenings taking place in our favourite city so you can plan ahead. Incorporating our regular movie guide, now updated weekly, here we showcase Budapest’s best events for the upcoming days. Get out and get involved!
Hungarian five-piece Chain Bridge Pop brighten your early Thursday evening by playing the panoramic terrace of the A38 Ship, moored in the Danube near Rákóczi Bridge. Formed in 2016, these former Hungarian X-Factor contestants released their first album, Travel, in 2018. Expect melodic pop-rock sung in Hungarian, with the odd English sample.
Showing in top high-resolution 4K, Anniversary 1978-2018 captures The Cure at their Hyde Park concert a year ago. Long-time visual collaborator Tim Pope and his film crew do a sterling job while the band churns out old hits, now rendered in a 5.1 audio mix. Screened at Budapest’s ornate Uránia theatre, running time 137 minutes. Admission 3,000 forints.
Eight talented jazz musicians from France and Germany form TransEuropeExpress, playing prestigious concerts and festivals and putting out a critically acclaimed album, Polyjazz, in 2018. Featuring Hans Lüdemann on piano and Alexandra Grimal on sax and vocals, this current show is a musical interpretation of Navid Kermani’s book Along the Trenches and also stars Majid Bekkas, a master of Moroccan instruments.
It was in 2014 when lively eatery Mazel Tov opened its doors on Akácfa utca in the Jewish Quarter, offering top-quality cuisine from Israel and the eastern Mediterranean, live music and a laid-back atmosphere. To mark its fifth anniversary, Mazel Tov is staging three special nights, opening with the duo of Juli Horányi and Szandra Iván on 11 July, and followed by the Tel-Aviv vibes of DJ Infragandhi on 12 July.
This pirate-themed grill outlet in way up in leafy, outer District XVI, is celebrating its third anniversary on 12 July. For the occasion, they’re offering birthday steak burgers and rum-based cocktails. Guests can also choose from craft beers by Synthesis Brewing.
In the relaxed surroundings of the main square in Óbuda, Hungarian alt-rock combo and festival veterans Elefánt give their only Budapest concert of the summer. Their Fonogram-nominated tunes mingle perfect melancholy with catchy melody.
Germany-based American singer Akua Naru blends all kinds of styles into her music, rap, hip hop, jazz and soul, most recently expressed in her 2018 album The Blackest Joy. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Naru started out in the great gospel tradition but soon veered into more contemporary beats and political activism. She returns to the A38 with her accomplished band.
Czakó Kert on the street of the same name off Hegyalja út in Buda holds comprises a bistro and a Saturday producers’ market. This Saturday, quality pálinka brandy producers Bestillo are organising an apricot fare. Three rural producers will be coming in from Gönc, a famous apricot-growing region in northern Hungary, to bring their best offerings to the table.
On Saturday, outdoor party series Lick The Click! continues its summer season on the upper terrace of the A38 Ship with a daytime chill session from 2pm to 8pm. DJs for the occasion will be Isu and Crimson & Chrom.
One of Budapest’s most legendary bands from the underground days of the 1980s plays the garden of the Dürer Kert on Saturday evening. Led by the ageless Jenő Menyhárt, EK at the DK should be a night of nostalgia and marvellously messy Magyar indie jingle, with songs from 2018 album Nincs Kontroll and some dating back nearly 40 years.
The first of three Saturday concerts in the grounds of Brunszvik Castle at Martonvásár takes place this weekend. An annual celebration of Ludwig van Beethoven, the concerts showcase the versatile talent of the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra. On the opening night, three pieces will be performed, starting with the lesser-known aria Ah! Perfido sung by Ildikó Szakács of the Hungarian State Opera. This will be followed Beethoven’s Symphony No.4, then the Choral Fantasy, considered the melodic cousin of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth. Tickets (2,500 HUF-4,500 HUF) can be purchased from the Broadway office at Károly körút 21 near Deák tér, Müpa and the Liszt Music Academy, as well as online from the Philharmonic website. Concerts also take place on 20 and 27 July.
Brunszvik Castle is close to Martonvásár rail station. Hourly trains leave Déli station in Budapest, journey time 30 minutes. The last one back is 11.18pm. See the MÁV website for schedules and tickets. PLEASE NOTE THAT IN CASE OF BAD WEATHER, THE CONCERT WILL BE HELD OVER UNTIL SUNDAY AT 7PM.
Eight comedians spieling in English, a great venue near the party zone and all for free – what’s not to like? French artist Noé Bex has put together a cavalcade of cosmopolitan cabaret, from America’s Eric Gruber to Algeria’s Athmane Hassouna, for what may be the world’s first stand-up night at an escape room. A pay bar should also help the merriment along.
Find original maternity, baby- and childrenswear at this summer’s Pici Piac, a market showcasing the works of 50 gifted Hungarian designers at the Larus Centre near the MOM Cultural Centre in Buda. Admission free.
On all four weekends of July, one of Budapest’s most picturesque landmarks, Liberty Bridge, will be closed to traffic so people can enjoy spontaneous gatherings, concerts, BBQs, performances and just chilling directly over the Danube.
5.30pm – 9pm: Mohan at Teve-szikla
After shows around London, in Camden, Covent Garden and Islington, UK singer-songwriter Mohan now performs by a cliff in the middle of Pilisborosjenő, surrounding by open countryside. The event is organised by Cooltúra and Garden Wonder, and combines a nature walk with a picnic and concert. The crowd will be given candles to light – admission is free but a contribution to the honesty box would be appreciated. Buses to the nearest stop of Pilisborosjenő Autóbusz-forduló leave from Árpád híd station in Budapest every 30min-1hr, journey time 30min. The last one back for town sets off at 10.25pm.
Throwing in banjos, fiddles, congas and even the odd washboard, Rising Appalachia have been taking the sounds of the American south around the world for the last two decades. Based in New Orleans, multi-instrumentalist sisters Leah and Chloe Smith merge multiple musical influences to create something infectiously danceable.
If you’d like to see English-friendly films, mainly blockbusters, your best bet is always Cinema City, especially the ones at Allee or Aréna, sometimes at Campona and WestEnd. Budapest’s art-house film theatres mainly focus on artsy and indie films, while the Bem Cinema brings back the classics to the big screen, almost always in English.
One-off film nights
Daah-daah… daah-daah… duh-duh-duh-duh… It’s now 44 years since mechanical sharks scared the living daylights out of audiences across America as the first hit movie by Steven Spielberg recouped its $9 million production costs in its first two weeks. See this classic thriller in English with Hungarian subtitles at the Bem cinema.
Friday, 7pm – : The Grand Budapest Hotel at the Budapest Rooftop Cinema
‘She was dynamite in the sack, by the way…’ ‘She was 84!’ What better place to see The Grand Budapest Hotel than on a panoramic terrace in Budapest? Screened in English with Hungarian subtitles, Wes Anderson’s hilarious Mitteleuropa romp kicks off the summer season at the Budapest Rooftop Cinema atop the Mammut 2 mall near Széll Kálmán tér.
Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking Sci-Fi classic hit the screens before man first walked on the Moon – yet feels as fresh today as it did more than 50 years ago. Think of space and you think of The Blue Danube. Screened in English with Hungarian subtitles.
This weekend’s English-friendly film selection:
- In Toy Story 4, a new character called Forky joins Woody and the gang for a road trip alongside old and new friends, revealing how big the world can be for a toy. Shows at CinemaCity.
- The Secret Life of Pets 2 continues the story of Max and his animal friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave for work or school each day. Shows at CinemaCity.
- In Spider-Man: Far From Home, following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. Shows at CinemaCity.
- Yesterday follows Jack, who wakes up after a bus accident to discover that the Beatles had never existed. Performing their songs to a world that has never heard them, Jack becomes on overnight sensation with a little help from his friends. Shows at CinemaCity and at art-house cinemas.
- A whole new world awaits in Aladdin, screening at Cinema City.
- The story of one of the X-Men’s most beloved characters, Jean Grey, evolving into the iconic Dark Phoenix in X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Showing at Cinema City Allee, Aréna, Campona and WestEnd.
- An epic musical fantasy about the uncensored human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years, Rocketman. Showing at Cinema City Allee, Aréna, Campona and WestEnd, as well as at art-house cinemas.