Travel inspiration and insider tips

7 years, 5 months ago

Was the Budapest Autumn Festival all we expected? Absolutely.

Think festival and you think of a muddy Glastonbury in the UK, soulful jazz in Montreal or a star studded red carpet in Cannes. However, anyone who has travelled further than their local corner shop will know that most cities in most countries have their own festivals and the Hungarian capital of Budapest is no different. Already a popular city break destination, Budapest becomes a great gulasch of contemporary art and culture in October as part of the Café Budapest Contemporary Arts Festival, previously known as the Budapest Autumn Festival. 2012 saw Café Budapest wanting to expand its scope for stunning visual arts into ultra modern electronic and visual design. Here’s  a snapshot from this collection of events and shows, which took place over the city from 5th to 14th October.


With acts like the Hidden Orchestra – a jazz collective from Edinburgh – and the Brazilian “sound designer” Amon Tobin headed to Budapest to get locals and visitors dancing, it’s fair to say that the artists performing at Café Budapest 2012 were eclectic, unusual and inspiring. Jazz was a definite flavour of the festival with the Budapest Jazz Marathon being a proud part of the festival on 5th October at the much-loved Budapest Jazz Club. Tickets started at 1000 HUF, which is a mere $4.50.

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Chunky Move is more than just an intriguingly named dance collective from Australia. They have been labeled as pioneers of the future of contemporary dance. Interactive multimedia is an important part of their shows and they performed at Budapest’s House of Contemporary Arts on the opening night of the festival. And later on the 13th of October a dance production by the Israeli Niv Sheinfeld and Oren Laor company featured modern pop music against which a historic tale was told about life aboard a European sailing ship in the 15th century. It doesn’t sound like it should go together but it did and with dramatically beautiful results.

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Contemporary Art

One of the most anticipated events at Café Budapest was the Paint Up! Building Competition, where 12 contemporary artists bid on extravagant, imaginative projects to have their work displayed on the 1000 square metre front of the Hungarian National Academy in Heroes’ Square. All the entries were rotated during the festival. On 11th October 2012, for one night only, 14 galleries opened up their doors to all for the Night of Contemporary Galleries. This event was the perfect excuse to not only indulge in a night of modern art but to also explore the city at night with a little “gallery-hopping” as the locations are scattered across Budapest’s many richly historic districts including the Old Jewish quarter, the Castle district and along the upmarket Andrássy Boulevard.

Image © Maurice

And the rest…

Those with a penchant for poetry who fancied their chances at outdoing the locals headed over to the Hungarian National Poetry Slam on the 14th of October. This open mic competition saw poets and lyricists do what they do best in the hopes of being the best, fighting for a place in the European Slam Championships being held in Belgium in December.

If you missed this thrilling spectator event, or want to participate yourself, don’t forget to keep your calendar open this time next year – and practice your rhymes and rhythms.


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