Shows, 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. Get out and get involved!
7pm-11.30pm: Das EFX at the Dürer Kert
Das EFX make a rare appearance in Budapest, Dray and Skoob playing a bunch of European dates, the hip-hop duo as fast, funny and furious as ever. In the business for the best part of 30 years, Das EFX hark back to the golden era of East Coast hip hop, of razor sharp word play and cutting beats.
8pm-10pm: Ute Lemper – Rendezvous with Marlene at Müpa
Compared to legendary chanteuse Marlene Dietrich after an acclaimed stage performance in Cabaret, Ute Lemper has gone on to record more than 30 albums, featuring songs by Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Philip Glass and Nick Cave. Her most recent production, Rendezvous with Marlene, presents Dietrich’s greatest hits, evoking something of the tempestuous life of her role model. For this show, Lemper will talk briefly about each of the songs to be performed in English.
8pm-10.30pm: Tóth Viktor & Bird Food Market at the Budapest Jazz Club
Hungarian saxophonist Viktor Tóth and his group, Bird Food Market, with Dávid Szarvas on beatbox and Gergő Kolta on bass, back in 2012. Broken rhythms and improvisation take the music into bebop territory, touching on jazz and hip hop, producing something quite original on the Hungarian music scene.
Conveniently falling on a Friday night this year, Valentine’s offers a cornucopia of romantic options in that most romantic of cities, Budapest. See our round-up here – bear in mind that a number of events also take place on Saturday, 15 February.
Noon- : Tulip Market at plante.
A tulip sale opens today at progressive flower shop plante. and runs until Sunday. Besides many kinds of tulips, you can buy other bulbs as well, such as daffodils and hyacinths, all from local producers. The flowers can be purchased in bouquets of ten, which should make someone happy on Valentine’s Day.
5pm- : Indoor Beer Festival at the Gellért Hotel
Running until Sunday, the fifth annual Serfőző Indoor Beer Festival allows you to indulge in unlimited beer tasting at the Gellért Hotel. The Gellért is also laying on a five-course beer dinner with excellent food and beer specialities prepared by head chef Gábor Müntz. On Sunday, the event ends with an all-you can-eat Beer Brunch.
8pm-10pm: Besh o droM album launch at the Fonó Club
Coinciding with the band’s 20th anniversary, the new album by Gypsy/Balkan combo Besh o droM is just as lively as the shows they’re currently performing to promote it. To say that Besh o droM have paid their dues is to put it mildly – “the tour bus keeps numerous European petrol stations in business,” as they put it – travelling from gig to gig, festival to festival, with a whole entourage of members who play all manner of wind, string and percussion instruments. The result is raucous and inescapably danceable. Don’t miss.
11.30pm- : Hybrid Night at the A38 Ship
A motley crew of British DJs take to the decks at the A38 Ship for a night of crowd-pleasing spinning to kick off the weekend.
3pm-9pm: Borjour Magnum 2020 at the Millenáris Park
Borjour Magnum is the largest indoor wine-tasting event of the year in Hungary, with 100 products from more than 200 wineries available for tasting and purchase. In 2020, the event is expanding to three buildings at the Millenáris, with a special focus on Cabernet Franc.
5pm-11pm: Winter Night of Choirs at the MagNet Community House
Singing voices fill the many rooms of the MagNet Community House for the Winter Night of Choirs. Performed by 17 ensembles in all – see further details here – the music touches on folk, classical, jazz and contemporary. You can listen to concerts, enjoy the Singing Courtyard, and sing the closing song together with the participants at the end of the night. One group, Song Factory Budapest, do Hungarian and international pop covers, building a bridge between choir and audience by singing acapella and polyphonic numbers to a high standard.
8pm-4am: Carnival at The Studios
Wave goodbye to winter and dance into spring with three floors of Carnival chaos at The Studios. Dazzling outfits and imaginative drinks abound, keeping in with the spirit of Carnival season between February and early March. In Hungary, the most outlandish example is Busójárás in Mohács, where locals dress up in woolly costumes and scary masks. The Studios invite everyone to break out their best busó rags and Mardi Gras beads and come in for the party of the year. Tickets start at 2,000 forints. Arriving in costume and paying at the door is 4,000, and anyone arriving sans fancy dress will have to pay the penalty! Further details from email@example.com, +36 1 323 7591.
8pm-6.30am: Bladerunnaz 21st Birthday at the Akvárium Klub
No fewer than seven sessions will take place for almost 12 hours of beats when Budapest party promoters Bladerunnaz celebrate their 21st birthday at the city’s most prominent nightspot, the downtown Akvárium. South London’s drum and bass master Benny L takes things past midnight through to the next day.
10am-6pm: Rubens and the Golden Age of Flemish Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts
Today is the last chance to see the Rubens and Golden Age of Flemish Painting exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts on Heroes’ Square. Curated from 50 prestigious collections around the world, the show comprises a total of 120 works of art, ten by Van Dyck and 30 by Rubens. Highlight is his depiction of the Roman consul Decius Mus, in tapestry and painting form, displayed side by side for the first time.
6pm-7.45pm: Casablanca at the Bem cinema
Shown in original English with Hungarian subtitles, the world’s best-loved film provides the ideal bookend to any Valentine’s weekend. Created in circumstances not dissimilar to the events that take place on-screen in war-time Morocco – events portrayed by the recent Hungarian feature about Casablanca director, Budapest-born Michael Curtiz – this perennial tear-jerker brings together Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as star-crossed lovers surrounded by a cast of rootless cosmopolitans and barflies. Hungarians also comprise key members of the cast, including Peter Lorre and SZ Sakall, who themselves had fled the Nazis for safety in America. The script zings with all-time classic lines – Emir Kusturica was happy to sprinkle his own Black Cat, White Cat with Bogart’s timeless closing gambit.
7pm-8.30pm: Selini Quartet & Korossy String Quartet at the Franz Liszt Music Academy
Under the umbrella of the European Chamber Music Academy, two up-and-coming ensembles are given the opportunity to perform at the prestigious Franz Liszt Music Academy. Based in Vienna, the multinational Selini Quartet have appeared at several major festivals and music competitions since their formation in 2016. Hungarian foursome the Korossy String Quartet also appear, with a promised musical agenda of Mendelssohn and Bartók. Admission is free.
11.30pm-12.30am: Midnight Music with Iván Fischer at the Várkert Bazaar
For the series of Midnight Music concerts, audiences can enjoy classical favourites from a new perspective with unique acoustics, lounging on beanbags around the performers in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Shortly before midnight on Sunday, the renowned Iván Fischer will start this year’s Midnight Music series at the Várkert Bazaar, performing excerpts from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5.