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Festival organizers protest against new regulations

Organizations involved in event organizing objected to new regulations imposed on their operation.

They were introduced after a deadly accident at a party spot in Budapest in January, but the strict new rules could possibly endanger Hungary’s famous Sziget and Művészetek Völgye festivals, organizers say. According to the new regulation, which entered into force on March 16, a special authorization is required for organizing a “music and dance event”.

Event organizers are surprised by the government’s actions, and they say that the regulation’s planners didn’t involve the affected parties. They complain that the rules don’t make a distinction between various kinds of events where music is played and people might dance. Also, it is not defined anywhere what a “music and dance event” actually is, István Márta, president of the Hungarian Festival Association explained.

From now on, only people with the relevant qualifications may organize such events. However, those practicing in the field typically lack such a certificate, and Rudolf Semsik, head of the Federation of Hungarian Event Organizers said that the relevant educational program is so new that no one has graduated yet.

The measures were originally intended to regulate nightlife, but now they apply to everyone. Márta considers it unfair to make no distinction between a club and an open-air festival series. The vague wording could mean that company parties well also be hindered. At the same time, political events, weddings and school gatherings are exempt from the rules.

Additionally, organizers say it is impossible to comply with the regulation that requires attaching a weather forecast from the Hungarian Meteorological Service for the time of the event – months, or even years in advance.

They asked for the revision of the measures, offered their cooperation and recommended setting up a working group that would take into account experts’ opinion.