Festivals, cool concerts, cultural events and amazing parties – Budapest is always buzzing. Every month, we bring together all the important happenings taking place in and around Hungary’s capital so you can plan ahead. For November, St Martin’s Day feasts, the Budapest Showcase Hub and a special screening of Scorsese’s The Irishman are among the many exciting events you shouldn’t miss. Get out there and enjoy everything that Budapest has to offer!
Yup, already! The main one just opened on focal Vörösmarty tér, Budapest's Christmas markets are already upon us, with more to follow by the Basilica, up in Óbuda and elsewhere. This year, the recent renovation of Vörösmarty tér has given the booths considerable space, with more family events and festivities expected. A detailed agenda is posted on the official Facebook page of the fair.
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force
The Ndagga Rhythm Force started in 2011 when Mark Ernestus travelled to Senegal in search of original sabar drum and mbalax dance-music recordings. Since then, his project has evolved into a killer live act, playing clubs and major festivals all across Europe. Singer Mbene Diatta Seck, talking drum master Modou Mbaye and dancer Fatou Wore Mboup have a stunningly energetic stage presence, and will be joined by legendary veterans from the Dakar scene for a night of authentic African sounds at the Trafó on 9 November.
St Martin’s Day festivities
St Martin’s Day is observed every 11 November in Hungary, as its borders encompass the birthplace of this unwittingly significant saint. Autumn is also when the growing flocks of geese need to be culled, so since the Middle Ages, families across Hungary happily take this opportunity to gather around a roast bird every St Martin’s Day, either at home or in restaurants. On and around this day, many restaurants offer special goose dishes. St Martin’s Day also falls at the same time as the new wines, so this holy occasion is revered for the opportunity to try the latest examples of Hungary’s good libations.
Budapest International Guitar Festival
Three of the world's leading exponents of the guitar will be giving morning masterclasses and evening concerts all weekend at the prestigious Franz Liszt Music Academy. Starting off on Friday, 8 November with Cuban/American Manuel Barrueco, the agenda takes in lute music by Paul O'Dette on 9 November and, on the Sunday in the Grand Hall, a guitar recital of Bach and Handel by Grammy-winning Scotsman David Russell. See details here.
Budapest Showcase Hub aka BUSH takes new alternative Eastern-European music to some of the city’s most emblematic locales from 13 to 15 November. Wander around town and catch upcoming bands from Lithuanian lo-fi punk to Budapest surf rock and Romanian cosmic indie guitar. The event will be hosted in places such as LÄRM, Fogasház/Instant, A38, Szimpla Kert, Beat on the Brat, Robot, Toldi Klub and EllátóHáz. Find tickets here.
One more time with feeling. The Irishman brings together cinematic legends Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, almost certainly for the last time. The film, directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, follows Frank The Irishman, a truck driver who gets involved with a mobster and his crime family. The screening is on 14 November at the Corvin cinema in English with Hungarian subtitles, one week before the official national release.
The Mitiszol? (‘What Are You Drinking?) Festival is Central and Eastern Europe’s annual fair of organic, biodynamic and natural wines. The festival has a new and exciting venue this year, waterside Bálna Budapest. Wineries from all across Europe will be bringing their beverages to the event. In addition to more than 150 wines, you can sample special pálinkas, beers and gins as well. All takes place on Saturday, 16 November – details here.
WAMP – The Joy of Creation
Hungary’s largest design fair invites visitors to refresh their wardrobes with unique and high-quality items on 17 November. Shopping is an experience on its own at the Bálna Budapest, where you will have the chance to meet the designers in person, and get a glimpse into the world of fashion. This is also a great opportunity to start brainstorming gift ideas for Christmas. All details here.
Huun-Huur-Tu, a music group from the Russian/Mongolian border, visit Budapest to entertain the audience with throat singing, in which the performers sing both the note and the overtones, producing two or three notes simultaneously. The overtone may sound like a flute, whistle or bird, but is solely a product of the human voice. While the thrust of Huun-Huur-Tu's music is fundamentally indigenous Tuvan folk music, they also experiment with incorporating not only Western instruments, but electronic music as well. The Fonó music club hosts this special cultural experience on 17 November.
Head First is a new production by Hungarians The Symptoms, playing for one night only on 29 November. Four dancers take the audience on a journey through pain, triumph and euphoria as they recall personal memories of giving birth, and articulate the experience through body movements, images and the written word. “We don’t remember how we were born, and we won’t be able to tell the story of our dying. Giving birth,” says the troupe, “is a rarefied experience, elemental-borderline, outside of real space and time”. This English-friendly show takes place at the Trafó.