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Pop Up Budpest

Pop up Budapest will unfold over two weeks in mid June. It is a series of events, mostly in NYC but some in Washington DC and even in Ottawa, Canada, to show why and how Budapest today is very much part of those global exchanges and transfers that are more constitutive of culture today than they have ever been before. Budapest is not an essence suspended in time – it is the constellation of influences and output, changing every minute.

You cannot reduce it to some formula and the only way to perceive what is about in a given moment is to experience it. In this spirit, Budapest Pop Up is an attempt to expose American audiences to this moment, with echoes from the past and gazes thrown towards the future. First and foremost, however, it is about presencing – presenting the present. Come to the events to see how Budapest is distinct, but not foreign, different but not alien. Join this transatlantic cultural exchange and dialogue from June 8 to 20, to get a sense of Central Europe’s global cultural and creative impact today.

Can you infect the multiple and manifold processes that constitute the cultural rhythm of a metropolis with elements borrowed from another city? Would that be like the film Alien, with a foreign parasitic body inserted into networks of creativity? Or, rather, would that reveal the alien to be familiar, entering into casual dialogue with the local metropolitan culture?
Budapest Pop Up is an attempt to prove the latter. We attempt to „infect” some of New York City’s great early summer cultural and creative festivals with a Budapest presence – much like you would see a pop up store in the Soho – by adding something distinct that still meshes well with what is around it. We are proud partners of Northside Festival, Chelsea Music Festival and Kulturfest NY/National Yiddish Theater in presenting „pop up content” from the hear of Central Europe with only one unifying theme: that Central Europe is all about the coexistence of irreducible difference, the historic and current meeting point of civilizations, norms and trends, a set up that sentences one to be creative, to explore and to innovate. We want to show that it pays to be familiar with Central Europe and its big and exciting cities – like Budapest. 
We showcase this distinctly postmodern Budapest, a meeting place of cultures as evidenced by our featured headlining band, Irie Maffia, featuring a Hungarian citizen of Ghanaian origin and a resident hailing from Grenada making music with ten other artists from Budapest that will evoke, without respect to borders, some of the triumphs of popular music from the past decades while remaining distinctly contemporary. 
Budapest is also a hub of creativity. Industries are springing up around the potential of the human mind and around newer and newer technologies. We introduce, with Design Terminal of Budapest, over a dozen start ups to give you a feel at Brooklyn’s answer to South by Southwest, Northside Festival. And we work with the Hungarian Tourism Board to give all those attending the events a sense of the Budapest and Hungary of today, a more complex image than many have in mind.

Balassi Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center, relying on its small team, is co-producing all of the Budapest Pop Up events. The Hungary Program at Northside Festival is presented in cooperation with the festival producer, Northside Media Group, and two Hungarian government agencies, Design Terminal, a hub for creative industries, and the National Tourism Board. Curated on our part by Zita Vadász in tandem with NMG executive Will Levitt, it brings together a series of genres and industries (film, music, tech and innovation, tourism and street art), it offers a cross-section of what makes Budapest an exciting place today.
Kulturfest NY showcases Hungarian folk music royalty Muzsikás, former invitees of venerable places like Carnegie Hall, yet bringing their distinct eastern outlaw/proto-punk mentality to any stage they place. This time, they present the outcome of their fieldwork in Maramures, today in Romania, a meeting place of Hungarian, Jewish, Romani, Romanian and Ruthenian (Subcarpathian Ukrainian) culture. They are joined by the Glass House Orchestra, the product of a former Balassi project, a supergroup of US, Hungarian, Israeli and Argentinean artists who reach back to the broad spectrum of pre-WWII Jewish music from Hungary with a distinct punk-folk sensibility. The Kulturfest participation is curated by HCC director Gergely Romsics, cooperating with our wonderful partner, Robin Schatell from National Yiddish Theater.
Chelsea Music Festival will see three distinct Hungarian ensembles engage in making distinctly experimental and contemporary music at the meeting point of classical and jazz. The Gőz-Kurtág-Lukács trio is a one time supergroup of three standout music innovators, to be seen one night only at the Festival. They are joined by nu jazz phenomenon a Loop Doctors, who rap and arrange Bartók all in one breath. Finally, in a separate show, Santa Diver will showcase violin innovator Luca Kézdy with her trio. Following the invitation by festival director Ken Masur, this participation is curated by Gergely Romsics, director, on the part of HCC and is realized with the generous producerial participation of Tiffany Fung on the part of CMF.
The production team on the HCC side includes Eszter Tamás, financial officer making sure that the labyrinthine nature of running a pop up festival does not stall the events (we are contracting with over a dozen partners altogether and that is a lot of sorting out), while on the ground production is overseen by curatorial associate Szandra Nagy, who, for the first time in history, at certain points in this festival, will attempt to be in two places at the same time. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that she may succeed in her bold undertaking.

Questions related to events, tickets and attending, as well as general content inquiries, please contact Szandra Nagy, curatorial associate at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For press and professional inquiries, please contact Zita Vadász, curator and press officer, at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Visit Budapest Pop Up and our partners' festival pages to find out more about our hosts!

Familiarize yourself with the many faces of Hungary by visiting the pages of our Budapest partners:
Balassi Institute – the „Mothership”

Design Terminál, Budapest

National Tourism Board


Oct 22.
- Oct 22.
The Life of Franz Liszt
Oct 23.
- Oct 25.
Freedom Flight


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