Queer defiance at a festival in Hungary

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10/06/2023

One of the largest festivals in Europe, Sziget takes place on a beach-lined island in the middle of the Danube River, a short journey from the city centre of Budapest. Upon entering, you have to cross an imposing industrial bridge, which makes for an unusually stark symbol of the barrier between the outside world and the unreality of a festival, where quotidian life is temporarily suspended. But its nickname – “the island of freedom”– also carries a symbolic meaning. In a country hovering somewhere between democracy and dictatorship, where an authoritative right-wing government has recently introduced some of the harshest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Europe, Sziget is an oasis of queer culture and progressive attitudes.

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