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Hungarian Sziget festival champions LGBTQIA+ community with The Magic Mirror stage

Exclusive: Sziget festival cultural manager shares it's their "duty to speak out and to act against" hatred in Hungary.

By Emily Maskell

Three performers at Sziget festival on stage.
Sziget festival will take place 10-15 August. (Image: Provided)

Hungarian music festival Sziget is returning for 2023 with a focus on LGBTQ+ rights and visibility in the country.

This year, The Magic Mirror celebrates 20 years of being a space for the LGBTQIA+ community.

A welcoming spot in Budapest for activism, the stage programme also offers a safe space for marginalised groups challenging the country’s traditional values.

The Magic Mirror is a hub for workshops, panels, film screenings, stand-up comedy, and dance performances – as well as the wildest parties.

This is against the backdrop of Hungary, where same-sex marriage remains banned.

Also, the government has passed legislation restricting equal rights: ending the legal recognition of transgender individuals and banning LGBTQ+ content for minors.

Therefore, fighting against such values, The Magic Mirror’s programme spotlights the LGBTQ+ community’s challenges through a queer-feminist perspective. 

A crowd at Sziget festival on stage
Crowd at Sziget festival. (Image: Provided)

Speaking of the importance of Sziget, Senior Program and Cultural Manager Jozsef Kardos shared with Attitude that the festival “has always stood up for Human Rights and LGBTQ rights.”

Kardos noted that The Magic Mirror was launched to educate audiences and locate community-specific issues.

“hatred against social minorities is often used in public discourse without consequences”

“We strongly believe that it is worth making these efforts and our basic goals from this haven’t lost any of their importance within the last two decades.”

Kardos additionally added that the importance of this venue cannot be overstated. 

Performer on stage at Sziget festival.
Performers at Sziget festival. (Image: Provided)

“In this part of Europe, where incitement and hatred against social minorities is often used in public discourse without consequences, where laws are passed that diminish the rights of minorities, we believe it is our duty to speak out and to act against these tendencies.”

Kardos also noted that The Magic Mirror is one of the most popular venues at Sziget. 

Performer at Sziget festival, a shirtless man stretching fabric.
Performer at Sziget festival. (Image: Provided)

He also added that the evening main show “is always one of the biggest hits of the venue followed by amazing parties that last till the morning.”

“This is the place where everyone can be completely free, and nobody looks strangely if someone is different.”

The Magic Mirror 2023 highlights include Pakistan’s movie breakthrough Joyland, QUEENZ’s drag performance, trans concert singer LaSol, and a lyrical performance by Yossi Berg and Oded Graf.

Performers at Sziget festival, one on stage and a crowd member standing up.
Performers at Sziget festival (Image: Provided)

Other events at the location include a musical brunch from the Queens Brunch Vienna and Femmes to the Front, a showcase form Budapest’s leading female DJs.

Furthermore, top billing artists appearing at Sziget include Billie Eilish, Florence + The Machine, Lorde, Baby Queen, Yungblud and more. 

Sziget returns in 2023 between 10 and 15 August 2023.

Ticket and more information are available here