The MOL Nagyon Balaton series yet again brings festivals, concerts, sports and gastronomical events to the entire Lake Balaton in the summer. The Paloznak Jazz Picnic drenched in wine, the 25th Valley of Arts with a jubilee concert by blues artist Hobo, Jazzpicnic and Kálibuli. Then there is Zamárdi, the festival capital that will also be graced by B.my.Lake this year.
MasterCard Balaton Sound (Zamárdi, 8-12 July)
Extended to 5 days this year, the electronic music festival promises a more fierce line up than ever before. Faithless returns in the frame of its jubilee tour, Tiesto will also be there, just like Grammy winners Zedd and Nicky Romero, not to mention Hardwell, who was chosen best DJ of the world. In addition to the main stage, three other venues will satisfy your musical needs. The Nagyon Balaton Gasztroudvar will feature the wines and champagnes by the best wineries of the Balaton wine region, and the specialities of the region's restaurants. In your quest to recharge after a long night of concerts, you can choose to enjoy a lounge, a cocktail bar, a sun terrace or a dock.
STRAND Nagyon Zene Festival and B.my.Lake (Zamárdi, 19-22 August)
Previously held in Balatonvilágos, the Best New Festival of the European Festival Awards 2014, B.my.Lake now moves in with STRAND Festival in Zamárdi. This year, the two festivals will take place simultaneously, in adjacent locations. The Mecca of electronic music, B.my.Lake will dazzle with hundreds of DJs; the line-up includes the likes of Fritz Kalkbrenner, GusGus and Sven Vath.
Although both Petőfi TV and Petőfi Radio will broadcast STRAND Nagyon Zene Festival live, true fans cannot let the opportunity to be present in Zamárdi pass by. In addition to the favourite Hungarian bands of MR2 Petőfi Radio many more (like us), there will also be international acts, like Steve Aoki, Simple Plan, All Time Low and House of Pain.
Wine, jazz, concerts and contemporary arts on the north shore
While the south shore's music festivals focus on raging parties, the north shore will accommodate those who are looking for more intimate events.The selection starts with a whole day of gastronomy and culture in the frame of Kálibuli on 27 June: Köveskál, Szentbékkálla and Mindszentkálla beckon with a Budapest Bár concert in the evening, and kids' and cultural programs in the daytime. Köveskál's three, rightly far-famed restaurants (Kővirág, Kali Art Inn, Miakő) prepare with gourmet menus and wine tastings available only in advance purchase.
From 2 to 4 July, Keszthely also celebrates in several locations around town: the programs of Keszthelyfeszt concentrate around the Festetics Palace, the main square and the Balaton shore. Good wines, concerts, spectacles and bites - what more does a festival need?
Tihany's ferry landing will be swarming with the hippest institutions and personalities of contemporary Hungarian youth culture from 22 to 26 July. ARTplacc 2015 focuses on up-and-coming young artists (under 35), who can present their ideas and creations in the frame of workshops, screenings, talks, and concerts, in addition to personal, one-man-shows in the gallery tent.
The largest comprehensive arts festival of Lake Balaton, the Valley of Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, giving it all. Hello Wood builds a village, Design Terminal organizes workshops, and the concert line-up includes names, such as Veronika Harcsa, Félix Lajkó and blues legend Hobo - the latter prepares with a jubilee show.
On 7 and 8 August, the Jazz and Wine Picnic will be held for the 4th time in Paloznak. We attended last year, and the event struck us as the most intimate program of the summer with people strolling under lanterns, dance and exquisite Balaton wines. This year, the Picnic will have 12 concerts on 2 stages; the line-up includes the Barabás Lőrinc Quartet, Jazzanova, Amoeba and sax legend Candy Dulfer.
Wine always plays a focal part in Balatonfüred's summer schedule. From 2 to 5 July, you can enjoy the Kékszalag Regatta with a wine glass in hand thanks to the accompanying VinCE Balaton. The event introduced wine courses and wine tastings on board of yachts to the programme last year.
The last two weeks of August will be all about wine and great concerts in Füred. The Füred Wine Weeks have been held since 1932. In addition to local wines, acclaimed acts of Hungarian pop and folk music, and the artists of the Nagy-szín-pad! talent show by the VOLT Productions and MR2 Petőfi Radio will guarantee your entertainment.
When cinema and theatre follow you to Lake Balaton
Time is flying fast: Balatonföldvár's KULTKIKÖTŐ also turns 10 this year. Just like the Valley of Arts, this event will also celebrate the jubilee - with a theatre premier, among other things. As a novelty, KULTKIKÖTŐ will now extend to Balatonboglár and Fenyves, too, offering over 180 programs in 3 settlements between 26 June and 29 August. The selection consists of musical and theatre productions, concerts and children's programmes, including concerts by Quimby, KFT, and Budapest Bár.
The cinema hit of this summer is the Balaton tour of Balaton Method, the movie by Bálint Szimler and Marcell Rév. In the film that premièred at the beginning of 2015, the cream of the Hungarian pop music scene plays in unusual settings. Drumming in the bar, singing on a giant slide or playing a concert on a paddle bike? These all take Balaton to happen. Balaton Method will be screened at the Tihany PIAC placc, Fövenyes Open-air Cinema, the Valley of Arts, and at the Balaton Sound and STRAND Festival in Zamárdi as well.
Balaton's El Camino
Riding around Lake Balaton is something that keeps lurking in your mind every spring, but is then often foregone in the summer heat. Nagyon Balaton wishes to change this by setting up 20 bike points around the Lake, where you can grab refreshments and borrow bike repair tools, so you'd have a greater sense of security riding the 230-km route among vineyards and summer houses.
Those with even higher endurance can have a go at Ultrabalaton, the longest running race of Central Europe. The increasingly popular running and cycling race around Lake Balaton will see a record number of participants this year, having registered nearly 6500 entries already.