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Feel the power of rock at Hungary’s 2016 VOLT Festival

For more than 20 years now, the VOLT Festival is one of Hungary’s greatest annual good-time gatherings, drawing world-famous musicians of diverse genres along with prominent local acts to fill a forested campground in the hills above Sopron. Happening this year during June 29-July 2, main-stage performers include Iron Maiden, Slayer, and the Prodigy, playing alongside plenty of open-air pubs and colorful attractions all scored by amplified beats swirling through a laid-back atmosphere. In our preview, we present event highlights and easy ways to get to the festival from Budapest.

Along with the world-class concerts, this year’s VOLT Festival kept those innovations that took last year’s experiences to a new level, like the new layout that places the two main stages opposite from each other, making it easier to go back and forth between shows.

Another one is that they’ll build the Sopron Eye, a 35-meter tall Ferris wheel – from the top, passengers can see Austria!

In addition to the ongoing rock, jazz, electronica, and world-music tunes resonating from the major VOLT Festival stages, other attractions include the laid-back “Poncichter Quarter” featuring several renowned Sopron wineries pouring their finest nectars, an escape-room game, an amusement park, and plenty of other offbeat activities found throughout the shaded festival grounds.

As of press time, passes are only available for thefollowing days of this year’s VOLT Festival – Wednesday (June 29), Thursday (June 30), and Saturday (July 2); check the event’s official website for ticket information, or visit the festival information booth in Budapest’s Erzsébet Square. Getting to Sopron from Budapest is easiest by rail – there are direct connections daily from Keleti Railway Station at 6:10am, 7:05am, 9:05am, 10:40am, 11:05am, 1:05pm, 3:05pm, 5:10pm and 7:05pm (see complete timetables) to Sopron Railway Station, where passengers can hop on the festival shuttle bus that takes them directly to the festival’s main entrance.

Sopron is not located along any of Hungary’s major highways, and getting there from Budapest by car takes about two and a half hours. Begin by taking Motorway M7 to the M1 west from Budapest, continuing around Győr until reaching the turnoff for main road 85. Travel west on this road through Enese, Csorna, Kapuvár, and Fertőszentmiklós, until main road 85 intersects with main road 84. The city limits of Sopron lie just a few kilometers north of this confluence, and signs clearly point the way to the festival grounds from there – and of course, those with GPS can simply type “Lővér Camping, Sopron” into their robot navigators.

Once arrived, guests can drift amid tree-shaded attractions in a happy daze between the diverse concerts – this year’s lineup features more than 100 different performances held on seven stages, with headliners including Damien Rice and Paul Kalkbrenner on June 29th, Wiz Khalifa, Axwell & Ingrosso, and the Gorgon City on June 30th, Iron Maiden, GusGus, and Stereo MCs on July 1st, and acts like Slayer, the Prodigy and Sigma on July 2nd. In addition, here are some lesser-known-but-not-for-long acts that we definitely recommend, including some up-and-coming Magyar musicians.

June 30, 6:10pm – Telekom Main Stage With a blend of heavy electric guitar, keyboards, and strong melodies, Skillet resembles a heavy metal band, but promotes a Christian message. The band, which has been compared to Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, “rocks pretty hard compared to the average Christian radio band,” according to Terry Deboer in the Grand Rapids Press. The band includes John Cooper on guitar and vocals, his wife Korey Cooper on vocals and keyboards, Lori Peters on drums, and Ben Kasica on keyboards. The group has had eight songs in the number-one slot on Christian radio, has been nominated for 11 Dove Awards, and was nominated for a Grammy in 2005.

Gorgon City
June 30, 1:40am – OTP Junior/Petőfi Radio Main Stage Gorgon City are North London producers Matt & Kye. Their already distinctive sound is a logical development of the duo’s individual work as RackNRuin and Foamo. Hailing from the impressive Black Butter camp (who brought you Rudimental, amongst others), the pair are one of the most exciting and hotly tipped new acts in the ever-flourishing landscape of British club savvy pop. Polished, powerful, and party-minded, this exciting meeting of musical minds is the sum of their many influences, inspirations and ideas. Their longstanding love of jungle, house, grime, hip-hop, and garage has shaped their unique sound.

Szabó Balázs Bandája
July 2, 8.15pm – Jana Stage Balázs Szabó is a true modern polymath: singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, puppeteer, and storyteller. After leaving the band Suhancos, he formed his own group and is achieving increasing popularity. His songs “Én már nem”, “Zaj”, and “Bájoló” quickly became favorites of both his concert audiences and radio stations, as did Szabó’s adaptations of poetry to music – he adapted the poems of classic Hungarian writers János Pilinszky, Ferenc Szemlér, and Sándor Weöres, as well as tackling works by contemporary writers such as Krisztián Grecsó. As far as his music is concerned, Balázs is not only a talented violinist, but a true visionary, blending together the elements of jazz, folk, pop, rock, and world music into something truly unique.

The Biebers June 29, 5pm – Jana Stage “Traditional dance music for drunk children” – that’s how this band, founded by one-time talent-show star Peti Puskás and his younger brother, Dani Puskás, describe their style and sound. Although they’ve preferred to keep their audience guessing about who writes these catchy and poppy hits, even when they were winning awards, they finally revealed their identity two years ago. Since then, the Biebers evolved into one of the most popular Hungarian bands, counting seven members, but one thing remained the same: their ability to write songs that will make you shake what you’ve got and sing along to them.

Lost Frequencies
Date and time TBA – Telekom Main Stage Felix De Laet is probably the most-listened-to Belgian artist in the world right now. The young Brussels DJ and producer heard the song “Are You With Me” from “All Over the Road”, the second album from American country singer Easton Corbin. He took the music and the chorus, sped up the tune, and released his edit in October 2014 under the artist name Lost Frequencies. An express train had departed. The edit of “Are You With Me” captivated Europe and Australia and ensured a Belgian first: in July 2015 it was the first Belgian song ever to reach the top of the British charts. A small fact: Corbin’s original never appeared as a single. “Reality” (2015) proves that De Laet is not a one-hit wonder; for several weeks it was the most-played tune in Europe. De Laet’s economics studies have been put on hold. First he wants to see the world, including the VOLT Festival.

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