by Eleonore Witschaß

The Sziget Festival is considered the best festival in Europe. Every year around 400.000 people come and enjoy the big headlines and upcoming artists on the sziget (hungarian: island) in the middle of the river Danube. Mark Bona has been working for Sziget Festival since 2004, four years as the programme coordinator and one year as the production manager of the Sziget company.

The European Stage
Now he is a free lancer as an event manager and booker, looking for bands at SPOT that might have the opportunity to perform on the European Stage at Sziget Festival. His aim is to find “bands who are quite well-known in their country but not so wellknown in Europe or worldwide“. For these artists the Sziget Festival gives the chance to “perform in front of a very international audience“.

How to choose a band
Sziget cooperates with many countries in Europe to keep up with the local stars and newcomers. “There are like 16 offices, 16 promoters that are promoting Sziget in their country. They are selling tickets and send me a recommendation of five or six bands who would be good for promotion. And I also receive some names from Denmark, Germany,… And because of that I need to choose one to three bands from each country and that‘s how the programme is made for the European Stage. And these bands are really happy to come and really happy to perform also“.

The chance to experience SPOT for the first time
It is Bona’s first time in Denmark after collaborating with the German music marketing agency Factory 92 for a long time. “We are working with them for the promotion in Germany and in Denmark. And I have been invited by them this year, finally”. His colleague, an international relation manager was at SPOT the previous years. But since he couldn’t come, Bona got the chance. “I came here for networking with many people I’d like to talk personally to after emailing. And I want to check some bands”. The only struggle is that there are “too many concerts” to see everything. “It’s easy to miss something”.

Seeing already booked artists live
One performance pleased Bona in particular. “There are some bands that I already booked, like Palace Winter and IRAH, they will perform this year; and Alma from Finland, she will also perform… Yesterday we went to the Alma show, and I was curious about what‘s going on there. I don‘t know how many people were there, maybe a thousand people. The band was also surprised. They said ‘Oh, we didn‘t believe you would be so many in front of the stage right now’. There were many people and it‘s a good feeling, that okay, I was right, they will be huge“. So after all, Mark Bona has a good experience at SPOT. “If I‘m getting invited, I would like to come again”.