Berlin vs. Budapest: Electronic Beats Festival

by Sara · 18.09.2012 · Escapism, Events · 3 comments

Many people have been com­par­ing Bud­apest to Ber­lin recently. Gen­er­ally, the East of Europe seems to be in the rise when it comes to under­dog parties, cre­at­ive move­ments and — as always — afford­able life­styles. All aside polit­ical and eco­nom­ical issues, Bud­apest is always men­tioned when people talk about how the “scene” is mov­ing away from Ber­lin as soon as it becomes fully com­mer­cial­ized. Per­son­ally, I hope Ber­lin man­ages to some­how keep the bal­ance between mak­ing money and stay­ing sexy, but not every­body shares my optim­ism. Now bey­ond the cyn­ism, how true are those rumors about Bud­apest being the new Ber­lin? I figured I’ll never know if I don’t go and see for myself. So I jumped at the chance when I was invited to the Elec­tronic Beats Fest­ival by Telekom with a couple of other authors, pho­to­graph­ers and blog­gers for a 24 hours trip. I assumed a party with a killer Berlin-Style line-up could not be the worst place to start “find­ing” Budapest.

Bud­apest after­noon. The weather was just as bad — maybe even worse — than in Ber­lin. Rainy and muddy all over. At least Ber­lin avant-garde would not have to get used to another cli­mate, I thought to myself smirk­ing. Equally shitty weather makes for a good rave with dark mooded, heavy bass music at night, right? Alas, due to the cir­cum­stances and the short­age of time I could not stroll around the city on our first night. Since our hotel was loc­ated in Buda (which I heard is not exactly the pulsat­ing heart of the city) and not in Pest (appar­ently where “shit gets down real heavy”) I spent my even­ing enjoy­ing the com­pany of the other Ber­liners, mak­ing new friends and get­ting a bit under the influ­ence as always. The Elec­tronic Beats Fest­ival — with no less than Mod­eselektor, Nic­olas Jaar, Junior Boys and new super-group Mostly Robot as rep­er­toire for a killer lineup — was set at the Mil­leni­aris Theatrum, a loc­a­tion that would work per­fectly in Ber­lin. I’m just saying.

On entrance Mostly Robot, a very Ber­lin EDM “band” (inven­ted and put together by Nat­ive Instru­ments, a very Ber­lin music com­pany), were killing it. Jamie Lidell, DJ Shif­tee, Tim Exile, Mr. Jimmy, Jeremy Ellis & Pfad­finderei = Mostly Robot. Def­in­itely a Ber­lin Night Out in Bud­apest. I hadn’t heard any­thing of them before and I was pleas­antly sur­prised by their sound. Sur­prised, because it was so unlike Ber­lin. A funky, breaky, bassy sound with few Techno ele­ments. I don’t mean to diss Techno at this point, I’m just say­ing it was nice for a change not to have Kalk­bren­ner rep­ping the city, if you know what I mean. Ahem, Ber­lin Fest­ival. Ahem.

Any­way: let’s just cut it short at this point and say that it was a per­fect party. I loved Nic­olas Jaar, always a great pleas­ure to watch and hear his magic played live. I missed out on Mod­eselektor because I got too involved with all the inter­est­ing stuff that happened back­stage (read: my cozy hotel room bed), but I heard it was a blast, what with the pil­low fights and all. And of course: the people. In only three hours I fell in love with eight dif­fer­ent Bud­apest res­id­ents, just because they’re super smooth, super sexy and hor­ribly flir­ta­tious. I won’t say it was sunday-afternoon-at-Berghain-flirtatious, I wouldn’t go that far. But give it a couple of years, some stable gay crowd and a couple of no strings attached party people avant-garde, and voilá, Ber­lin is out and Bud­apest is in (although Hun­garian people still have to go a long way in terms of style. Maybe the EB-Festival was not the right place to judge indi­vidual fash­ion, but on a per­sonal note: get your­self some new shoes, Bud­apest!). Check out more pic­tures over at MitVergnue­gen who organ­ized the trip for us kids.

The next day gave us about four hours of walk­ing around Pest before we had to catch our flight back to Ber­lin. Although tired and a bit worn from the party we gave our best efforts (and believe me, I tried to do the oblig­at­ory Hungry/Hungover/Hungary word­play but I just didn’t fig­ure it out and I’ll leave you to it). Des­pite the ever so shitty weather we were amazed by what we saw: great archi­tec­ture, AMAZING (!) court­yards and this dis­tinct feel­ing of being some­where in Europe where noth­ing is European. I’d never been so far out East (within the bor­ders of Europe) before, so everything felt new and exotic to me in such a weird famil­iar way. I always assumed Vienna would look like that: impress­ive Par­lia­ments and huge castles and really old build­ings and everything is so worn out and yet, some­how, the streets man­age to look fresh. I liked the hes­it­at­ing graf­fiti on the cen­tur­ies old walls and door­ways. Bud­apest looks unfin­ished, like “hey, we can settle down and do some­thing here”.

With all that said I really want to point out how I felt in about 3 – 4 hours of “sight­see­ing”. You know how some­times tour­ists in your city stop to take the most ran­dom pic­tures of the lamest — I mean the LAMEST — things? That’s how I felt. Bud­apest looks amaz­ing and it feels amaz­ing, but that was not nearly enough time to find any­thing. Except I still man­age to spend a mil­lion worth of Euro, no mat­ter how short the stay. Any­way: Bud­apest, I’ll come back to you (and maybe a couple of thou­sand other Ber­liners if the rents keep rising. We’re on a mis­sion to gentrify the rest of the world, too). And Elec­tronic Beats, thanks for the party!

  1. Wow, lovely pic­tures.
    And yes, Ber­lin and Bud­apest are not too far from each other in terms of cul­ture and life­style.

  2. –Bud­apest looks unfin­ished, like “hey, we can settle down and do some­thing here”. -

    Einen so guten/genauen Eindruck von Bud­apest in solch kur­zer Zeit zu gewonnen, super!
    Komm näch­stes mal für 4 Mon­ate, statt 4 Stunden…es gibt unglaub­lich viel zu entdecken!