No summer passes without dozens of music festivals all over Hungary, but the Campus Festival in Debrecen is definitely a unique one as it shows how to bridge the age differences among the visitors. That was my very first impression upon entering the gates of the festival. – Local report by Virag Vida.
After some great concert experiences at 2 am, I found myself singing with a group of sixteen-year-old girls at the Unicum Bár venue (which wasn’t really a ‘bar’ – at least 1000 people were partying together…) on ‘Uncle Dévényi Tibi’s party’, and they were begging me to stay for the next song, as I was ‘an authentic’ person who remembered when the song was born in the ’90s. Some hours before, during the ‘Hungarian Guns N’ Roses’ aka Tankcsapda’s concert, I noticed the most interesting crowd I’ve ever seen at music festivals, ranging from toddlers to real concert veterans and encompassing different types of people from our society, from rockers to businessmen. In this truly amazing diversity, the Campus made something happen that the better half of humanity is tirelessly fighting for: the dream of absolute tolerance and equality came true for some nights on the ‘Nagyerdő’ (Big Forest) area of the historically religious town. I’ve never seen Hungarian conservative right party supporters partying with LGBTQ community members at an alternative blues concert or businessmen shouting loud rock songs together with primary school’s students.
After Azahriah warmed up the crowd on Friday evening before Tankcsapda on the ‘Metal Sheet’ Main Stage, the famous band took the roll. The 34-year-old Tankcsapda gave a great show with the usual rock-concert stage effects, including LED screen projections, sparklers, smoke, and, of course, fireworks. It was a spectacular performance, and the band obviously enjoyed playing in front of their hometown audience. Tankcsapda has hits like ‘Menyország Tourist, Egyszerű Dal, Ez az a ház, Be vagyok rúgva, Adjon az ég, A legjobb méreg, Ülj mellém,’ etc., which have kept their fame for decades in Hungary.
People who didn’t choose the rock band had fun at the Radio 1 Stage with the beloved French-origin DJ, Cooky, or enjoyed the Anima Sound System 30 on the OTP Bank Fénytorony Pódium. There were many other opportunities to have fun as well, as the festival presented 20 bigger stages. Honestly, while walking around the festival area, I didn’t see any venues without an enthusiastic audience. The organizers officially reported that Friday and Saturday were full house, and they reached the capacity of visitors. However, on Friday evening, the weather forecast wasn’t very promising for the festival community, but it seemed like nobody wanted to stay at home. Unfortunately, this posed a challenge for the organizers, as they couldn’t handle the extreme crowd on Friday night in a professional manner. Disappointed people who had been in line for hours and missed their favorite band’s performances complained on the festival’s website and social media platforms. The organizers resolved the problem for Saturday, and we didn’t notice any interruptions at the admissions.
For me, the most memorable and highlighted concert experience came from a traditionally alpha-male rapper, ‘Ganxsta Döglégy Zolee.’ He performed on one of the main stages (BMW iFactory Stage) on Friday from 7 pm with his nationally well-known band, Ganxsta Zolee és a Kartel, but he also showed up a few hours later on a plug-in mini stage at the ‘Soproni Megapub és Kocsmasport Bázis’ as a member of the two-person Dos Diavolos band. Originally, I had only wanted to listen to the first 2-3 songs, but I ended up staying for the entire concert, and it gave me the most profound musical experience of the entire festival.
The Campus also had a strong civil and kids zone, which increased the value of the event. The kids’ zone with cool historical and modern creative games and toys was great fun for families, and a big bonus was that the festival offered free tickets for children under age 12, so hundreds of families visited the event every morning and early noon. If you needed to relax after the intense festival vibe, you could chill in this calm and safe area among the trees. The Hungarian US Embassy, Amnesty International, Mensa, and many local organizations also had a presence there, offering interesting information and interactive games for gifts.
On the way home, I also stopped by some of the booths, like the Debrecen Airport‘s booth (they really extended capacity and started flying to many popular destinations!) and the Richer’s booth, which had many interesting job fair games. Before walking out the gate, I jumped in on the Fish! and the Takáts Tamás Dirty Blues Band‘s concert. Both bands felt the Campus vibe in their own ways, and they really engaged their colorful audiences. I enjoyed their performances a lot too, but I would have had more fun if I could have gotten a glass of red wine at the bars, which were in short supply. I am wondering why the festival’s pubs didn’t offer ANY red wine in their selections… Perhaps I am wrong with the age-gap cancellation, as there might be a big difference between us and the youngest generation if they only drink white wine and rosé from the wine lists.
– Virág Vida –
Photos: Virág Vida