City guide
8 superb English-friendly events of 2016’s CAFe Budapest Festival
Photo : Shobaleader One
8 superb English-friendly events of 2016’s CAFe Budapest Festival

The annual autumn CAFe Budapest Festival of contemporary arts is now happening for the 25th time in varied venues of Hungary’s capital, encompassing numerous cultural events during October 7-23. Spanning 17 days, the festival offers presentations in a wide range of artistic genres, from contemporary classical music through popular music concerts, new circus and dance performances, and fine-art exhibits. Besides outstanding Hungarian artists, the festival also features extraordinary international favorites; we picked out eight programs that are easily enjoyable by English-speaking guests.

“SHIFT” Koop Oscar Orchestra Shobaleader One eARTH Budapest Ritmo Art Market Budapest Steve Reich 80 “A House in Asia” play


Photo: CAFe Budapest
StreetArt Project Performances is a contemporary dance group that intermingles various genres, from ballet to acrobatic street dance, and from classical music to dubstep. Their dance-performance series turns some of Budapest’s special squares into a stage. The dance scenes are performed on public squares, reaching out to us through the universal body language, and with the strength of surprise. We can see them perform “SHIFT” on October 8th at 5pm and 6pm at Erzsébet Square, at 5pm and 6pm on October 15th at Fővám Square, and at 5pm and 6pm on October 22nd at Erzsébet Square again. An extraordinary experience is guaranteed here.

When: October 8, 15, and 22
Where: Erzsébet Square and Fővám Square

Koop Oscar Orchestra

Photo: CAFe Budapest Facebook
One of the most significant bands of modern electronic-based dance nu jazz, Sweden’s Koop Oscar Orchestra, returns to Budapest’s A38 on October 7th; well, more precisely, their reincarnation, as one of the band’s two founders, Oscar Simonsson, re-established the band after a six-year-long break, and among others, the magnificent-voiced Lithuanian singer Jazzu joined the band. The repertoire of the Koop Oscar Orchestra features both classic hits, such as “Summer Sun” and “Koop Island Blues”, and new creations that maintain their characteristic style of friendly and danceable jazz.

When: October 7th, 8pm
Where: A38

  • 1117 Budapest, Petőfi híd budai hídfő

Shobaleader One

Photo: CAFe Budapest Facebook
Since the ’90s, Tom Jenkinson – aka Squarepusher – has been a significant figure of electronic music who constantly seeks new directions. He built up his artistic oeuvre that stretches from drill ’n’ bass to techno mostly on his own, but the dynamism and almost infinite possibilities of playing with friends inspired him to form a band, Shobleader One, with which he performs on October 10th at Bálna Budapest. Is it possible to play music that was previously considered only producable via computers with drum, guitar, and piano keys? Well, if anyone is capable of doing so, that’s Tom Jenkinson.

When: October 10th, 9pm
Where: Bálna Budapest

Bálna Budapest


Photo: CAFe Budapest Facebook
Góreczki’s music challenges its audience to raise fundamental questions about our existence. It won’t let anyone settle for the ordinary, and get used to the comfort of everyday life. It rumbles the universe, and resonates with the most human voice at the same time. Thus, this tension between the two creates real drama that preaches about the truth and love of life, and the responsibility of arts in shaping our future. Visitors can see the choreography of the Szeged Contemporary Dance Company set to the composer’s 4th symphony on October 10th.

When: October 10th, 7pm
Where: Palace of Arts

  • 1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell utca 1.

Budapest Ritmo

Photo: Budapest Ritmo Facebook
Budapest Ritmo, presented jointly by Hangvető and CAFe Budapest, is the meeting point of Hungary and the world, where renewable resources are created from the clash of different cultures. After the opening, the music of guest performers from 25 various countries of the world will be playing throughout three days at the Palace of Arts (Müpa). As a teaser, six performers of WOMEX (World Music Expo) will perform here one week before the event in Spain. Surprising acquaintances, onetime miracles, music soaring through borders, and local treasures in Budapest. During October 13-16, Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali, Turkey’s Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Poland’s Kapela Maliszów, and Finland’s Tuuletar will all preform here.

When: October 13-16
Where: Müpa

  • 1095 Budapest, Komor Marcell utca 1.

Art Market Budapest

Photo: Art Market Budapest
Art Market Budapest is happening during October 13-16, presenting several thousands of works by nearly 500 artists across a 6,000-square-meter display space. Besides the 100 exhibitors coming from 25 different countries, numerous Hungarian contemporary art galleries represent themselves at the festival, too. Art Photo Budapest dedicates a whole hall to photography, while a sculpture program called sCULTURE complements the special interior with a spectacular outdoor sculpture park. Nearly 50 programs, such as book presentations, performances, film screenings, and roundtable talks accompany this grand expo.

When: October 13-16
Where: Millenáris

Millenáris Park

Steve Reich 80

Photo: CAFe Budapest Facebook
On October 16th, outstanding artists of Hungarian classical music celebrate the 80th birthday of certainly the most significant ambassador of musical minimalism, one week after the special date. The American Steve Reich is a true icon of contemporary classical music; his repetitive sounds had a huge effect on modern musical aesthetics, and his half-century oeuvre is a masterpiece of modern music. For the first time in Budapest, the audience can admire his “City Life” performance integrating New York City’s atmosphere (taxi honks, the noise of jackhammers, the sound of a ship’s horn, and the alarm of closing metro doors) into a unique musical journey. Another specialty of the concert is Reich’s first composition that was inspired by two Radiohead songs (“Radio Rewrite”); it gained immense success at the premiere in London in 2013.

When: October 16th, 7:30pm
Where: Liszt Ferenc Music Academy

Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music

“A House in Asia” play

Photo: Trafó
Three houses. Three identical houses. One in Asia – more precisely in Pakistan, where Bin Laden is hiding; its perfect replica is found at a military base in North Korea. The third is in Jordan at a film screening, and the fourth is on the stage. The biggest chase of history begins here. The theatrical language of Spain’s Agrupación Señor Serrano is truly special: the events that take place in scale models are recorded live, then cut and screened. The result of this recording can be seen at Trafó on October 21st and October 22nd. “A House in Asia” is a theater Western that mingles reality and its earthly copies, in order to bring to life a cruel pop portrait of the era portraying the 21st century, the times after 9/11.

When: October 21 and 22, 8pm 
Where: Trafó

  • 1094 Budapest, Liliom utca 41.