There are a lot of major events going on around Budapest in May that you don’t want to miss: all kinds of concerts, a running gala, all-night screenings at varied art cinemas, and festivals celebrating rosé, street food, and comic books – along with much more. In this event roundup, we collect all of the important happenings taking place in Hungary’s capital during the upcoming month, so that you can plan ahead to attend whatever events are the most interesting for you. Get out there and enjoy everything that Budapest has to offer!
St Stephen’s Basilica
Taking its name from the 1976 film The Gumball Rally, about a fictional race from coast to coast in the USA, the Gumball 3000 is the gasoline-fused chronicle of the world’s most luxurious and infamously illegal competition. Last year, the luxury automotive road trip featured 100 cars and drivers from 30 nations. Now, Gumball 3000’s founder, Maximillion Cooper, will lead the race across seven European cities over the span of seven days – it will reach Budapest on May 5th, for the first time since 2006. You’ll be able to greet the Ferraris, Porschés, and Lamborghinis, and celebrities like Josh Cartu, Ferrari club president and renowned Ferrari race car driver, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton, Afrojack, David Hasselhoff, Bun B, and The Alchemist. More details here.
You can enjoy three outstanding concerts during MüPa Budapest’s Jazz Spring 2016, taking place between May 5-7; the performances’ kaleidoscopic features and cheerful freshness is in full harmony with the mood of spring and the spirit of jazz. José James is an unmistakable representative of contemporary New York jazz, his gigs are magical mixtures of individual style, suggestive performance, jazz, soul and drum ’n’ bass. Viktoria Tolstoy is a true, natural talent, a Swedish jazz singer who is proud of her Russian ancestors and who can sense the spirit of the different jazz genres with unbelievable virtuosity. Also, one of the world’s most successful a cappella groups, the legendary Manhattan Transfer, will hit the decks too: alongside jazz pieces, the four magnificent singers will surely play some pop hits and R&B songs, too. So, audiences will be treated to leading performers in the American jazz world, topped by a unique figure of the Swedish jazz scene. Sounds like every jazz lover’s dream. More details here.
Városliget Café & Bar
Refreshing rosé wines, fizzy champagnes, and superb sparkling libations, an easy-going welcome of summer, street food, and live concerts in the most famous park of Budapest: that’s how we would sum up Rosalia, which slowly became a tradition – every year, thousands of people meet in the same month the upcoming warm season with a few glasses of this and that. This year, the festival will take place between May 6-8, with acts like SuperStereo, Margaret Island, Intim Torna Illegál, and the Jazzy DJs providing the perfect soundtrack for trying the products of more than 50 different stands. Light whites, heavy reds, sweet varietals, and many types of rosé and sparkling wine – sounds like a dream come true. Also, early afternoons are about children: Rosalia welcomes families with playful programs for them. More details here.
The main goal of the third Food Truck Show Budapest is to bring together all of the rentable victual-serving vehicles in Hungary that offer quality food. Between May 6-8, you can try the dishes of local rolling culinary trucks, be it the bagel sandwiches of Bakker, the hearty and heavenly sausage cones of Kolbice, the fresh and hot burgers of Zing Burger, or the on-the-spot cooked homemade pasta of Gnocchi Furgon – just to name a few options. And let’s not forget that many food trucks prepare a special menu for this gastro festival, so even if you are familiar with them, you might find something new to your liking. The list of drinks include different syrups, beers, wines, and pálinkas, and there’ll be side programs like horse races, greyhound races, children’s activities, concerts, street musicians, and entertaining artistes. More details here.
Sirha Budapest – International HORECA and Retail Show
Sirha Budapest, organized between May 9-11 at Hungexpo, is an internationally acclaimed event for the food service and hotel sectors, is set in Budapest for the first time to bring together key players of the HORECA and retail industry from Hungary and Eastern Europe. Professional visitors will discover a comprehensive overview of the latest trends in the agro-food, bakery-pastry, hospitality, and food-service industries. Packed with animations and events, the show will offer a platform for expression for all trades in the sector, and for gastronomy in particular thanks to the Bocuse d’Or Europe. As a highlight of Sirha Budapest, this prestigious contest will feature the very best chefs from Europe and will reveal tomorrow’s talents. Conviviality, innovation, creativity, and business will be on the menu at the show, and no effort has been spared to appeal to everyone. More details here.
The Hungarian Comics Association will hold the country’s biggest comics-related event for the 12th time on May 8th at Dürer Kert. The event unites all fields of comics: entertaining programs, screenings, games, comic improvisations, and more. The list of special guests includes Israeli graphic artist Rutu Modan, who won the famous Eisner Award with her work “The Property”, Alessio Fortunato, Kivi Larmola, and Pertti Jarla. No matter what or who you are: a fanatic collector, an average comic reader, or somebody who doesn’t know a thing about this art form but are interested in it – this is where you should be on the eighth day of May. Not to mention that some Hungarian comics will make their debut here, and it’s easy to find some rarities for a discount price. What more could a real geek ask for? More details here.
Papp László Budapest Sportaréna
Hans Zimmer, Hollywood’s most in-demand and innovative film-music composer, who scored music for more than 100 films, will perform at the BudapestArena on May 11th. For the peformance, Hans’s 20-piece studio band, with whom he records his award-winning soundtracks, will be appearing alongside Lebo M, best known for his stunning vocals on Hans’s score for Disney’s The Lion King, as well as an orchestra and choir. The German-born musician has composed the soundtracks to blockbusters such as Inception, Interstellar, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Gladiator, 12 Years a Slave, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spider-Man, The Thin Red Line, The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, Thelma and Louise, Crimson Tide, Rain Man, and many more. But if you are still not convinced, know that it will also be a striking visual experience, designed and lit by the world-renowned lighting designer Marc Brickman. The show will not only sound unlike any other, it will also look unlike any other. More details here.
A prominent event of Hungarian gastro culture, the annual Gourmet Festival will take place at its usual venue of Millenáris during May 12-15. This year, game and fish will be in the spotlight, being presented in different variations by some of Hungary’s most outstanding restaurants. Along with the best eateries, the event will be attended by the most excellent wineries, confectioneries, and other prime representatives of the Hungarian gastro world, from both Budapest and the countryside. There will also be gourmet shops and artisanal food products, as well as a new stand: the Gourmet Workshop, where you can learn the basics of BBQ from Máriusz Adorjányi (Nyárspolgár), or chocolates and truffles from Beatrix Harrer-Abosi (Harrer Chocolat). More details here.
Budapest is home to the Belgian Beer Festival, a hop-scented gathering that brings 43 Belgian breweries together to present their finest selection of beers with more than 200 different types of these intoxicating suds, from Blanche de Namur to Deugniet, and from Saison 1858 to Van Steenberge, between May 13-15. Besides the alcoholic treats, visitors can gulp fine bites like local sausages, hams, and cheese varieties, while food trucks of the Budapest street-food scene serve premium hamburgers, golden French fries, Belgian waffles, and much more. More details here.
Városliget Café & Bar
Kicking off on Városliget (aka City Park), the 21st Coca-Cola Wake Your Body Women’s Running Gala, organized on May 22nd, traverses shorter and longer distances (2.1km, 5km, 10km – you can also compete in pairs on this distance) in the heart of Budapest, and whichever challenge you take depends on your level of fitness. If you feel like it, you can actually complete all of them: 17.1kms in one day. This running gala is strictly for women only, but if you happen to be a man, you can still come and cheer for them. More details here.
Known as the Hungarian SXSW or Creepy Teepee, the Rakéta Festival blasts into end of May with high-flying young musicians filling the city’s coolest clubs during May 30-June 5. The Hungarian bedroom-pop and rock scene is only the top of the pops: all kinds of genres are represented here, from witch house to hip-hop. Some bands make their very first appearance during the week, while many of them are already well-known for their freaking-strange live shows or their unique style. If you want to soar with the ever-growing and exciting Hungarian music scene, don’t miss Rakéta. More details here.