With the arrival of spring, a more colourful and meaningful festival season than ever before begins in Debrecen. In addition to the well-known and long-standing big events such as the Campus Festival and the Debrecen Flower Carnival, there are many new events for culture lovers in Debrecen throughout the year. Domestic and international performers, world-famous productions, genre diversity and super venues ensure a meaningful and memorable experience.
We offer the highlights of Debrecen’s annual programme, broken down by month.
BAKATOR WINE AND GASTRONOMY FESTIVAL
On 28th May 2022, the Bakator Wine and Gastronomy Festival will be held in Bihardiószeg, with the support of the City of Debrecen, in the beautiful garden of Zichy Castle. Bihardiószeg is the wine-growing centre of the Érmellék region of Bihor – today, 80 hectares of the 250 hectares of vineyards in the Bihor part of the Érmellék wine region are cultivated in the village. Located less than 30 kilometres from Debrecen, on the other side of the Hungarian-Romanian border, the region is dotted with hills, vineyards and wine cellars, and winemaking enjoyed its golden age in the second half of the 19th century – Count Ferenc Zichy established a model vineyard and winery in the manor centre, and in 1870, thanks to the intervention of the Zichy family, the state founded the country’s first vocational school of winemaking, the Vintellérképezd (wine cellar school), in Bihardiószeg. The former and present flagship of the wine region is the Bakator, with all the current Carpathian Basin producers presenting their own Bakatora from the Szerémség to the Somló Hills. In addition to the Bakator, you will be able to taste a selection of wines from nearly 20 wineries in the Bihar Érmellék region – including Királyleánykak and Muskotály, Rizling and Kékfrankos.
FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2022
Hungary will host the 2022 World Aquatics Championships from 18th June to 3rd July. The event will be the nation’s world championship, as the sport’s matches will be played not only in Budapest but also in Sopron, Debrecen and Szeged. This time, the World Championships will be held only in the existing facilities – swimming and diving in the Duna Arena, synchronised swimming in the Széchy swimming pool on Margaret Island, and water polo in Debrecen, alongside the Hajós Fünfvenese, and the brand new complex in Sopron and Szeged, built under the Modern Cities Programme, while open water swimmers are scheduled to compete at the Lake Lupa venue, which made its excellent debut at last year’s European Championships.
DEBRECEN GOURMET FESTIVAL
The Debrecen Gourmet Festival, now in its sixth edition, will be held in the green heart of Debrecen, in the Nagyerdei Park, the well-established location of the city, from 1st to 3rd July 2022. This year again, the Stylistic Rural Restaurant is the main partner of the festival, which will offer a wide range of gastro-culinary experiences. In addition to the presentation of outstanding professionals of the Hungarian gastronomic scene, impressive menus and experiential cooking, this year international flavours will be on the palette, addressing thousands of foreign students and workers living in Debrecen, whose special cultural and gastronomic traditions will be presented to the interested audience.
HORTOBÁGY HORSE RIDING DAYS
After two years, the Hortobágy Horse Riding Days are back again – with lots of new attractions for lovers of equestrian sports and folk traditions from 15th to 17th July 2022. In the past decades, the Hortobágy Horse Riding Days have become the region’s most important event, with a transnational reputation, whose main aim is to promote the past and present of the pastoral culture of the Hortobágy region, the work of the Mátai Stud Farm and its collection of horses, which is still in use and in operation today.
140 YEARS OF THE JUZSI FOREST RAILWAY
The oldest narrow-gauge railway in the country is celebrating its anniversary. The Zsuzsi Forest Railway started its operation 140 years ago this year, on 16th July 1882, transporting timber felled in the Gúth forest. The train, now a sightseeing excursion, will celebrate the anniversary with a series of festive events throughout the year, with one of the main events taking place on 16th July 2022. To mark the anniversary, the train and nature lovers will be able to enjoy a more varied programme than ever before, with traditional events from February to December, family activities at weekends to celebrate nature and active relaxation, and guided forest tours.
With nine live music stages and six additional music and dance venues, the Campus Festival, the most comfortable summer festival in Hungary, is the most popular festival in the country, and deservedly bears the title “the biggest east of the Danube”. This year, Campus is shifting up a gear – international productions are returning to Debrecen. From 20th to 24th July 2022, the Dutch star DJ Tiësto will perform. The Norwegian singer AURORA, who has a unique voice and personality, will also be performing in Debrecen, and we will also be introducing Swedish singer Zara Larsson and the English duo Chase & Status, who are very popular in Hungary and who have been the headliners of several major European festivals in recent years.
DEBRECEN WINE AND JAZZ DAYS
For the 7th time in 2022, one of Hungary’s best-known and largest open-air jazz events, the Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days, will take place. Debrecen Wine and Jazz Days was born from the fusion of the fifteen-year-old Debrecen Wine Carnival and the forty-three-year-old Debrecen Jazz Days, which was first held in 2015. Between 4th August and 7th August, visitors to the event will be able to taste the most exciting Hungarian wines in the cosy, green surroundings of the Nagyerdei Park, on the shores of Lake Békás, alongside the most outstanding Hungarian jazz musicians and jazz concerts. During the programme, nearly 300 jazz musicians will perform 80 concerts on three stages. Experimental visitors will have the chance to taste the finest wines from 60 Hungarian wineries, while the festival’s many stands will offer traditional Hungarian cuisine and artisanal, farmhouse cheeses from local producers. The event aims to showcase curio jazz productions and promote Hungarian wine culture through the invited wineries.
DEBRECEN FESTIVE GAMES
For the second time, Coopera will organise the Debrecen Festive Games cultural festival between 1st and 15th August 2022at the city’s iconic venues – Kossuth Square, the Nagyerdei Open Air Stage, the Csokonai Literary Laboratory and the Csokonai Forum. In addition to opera, theatre and music, this year’s large-scale programme will also include prose and dance performances, musical literature and documentary film evenings. All of these excellent productions will bring the best of the best to audiences in Debrecen and beyond. The festival is organized in cooperation with the City of Debrecen, local cultural institutions – the Kodály Philharmonic Debrecen, the Csokonai Theatre and the Főnix Event Organizing Nonprofit Ltd.
DEBRECEN FLOWER CARNIVAL
The Debrecen Flower Carnival is nowadays much more than a parade of spectacular floral compositions and international artistic ensembles – it is a week-long, colourful cavalcade of events from 15 to 21 August, where visitors can find the most attractive entertainment for them – children’s and adult programmes, concerts, dance performances, lectures, workshops, flower arranging competitions, exhibitions, horticultural expo, parades and stadium shows. In 2022, the Flower City project will be launched to make Debrecen bloom – we will brighten up public squares, trams and tram stops, decorate public sculptures, debut lush flower sculptures throughout the city and place attractive refreshment points in busy squares. The project aims to create a greener, plant-filled, vibrant urban bustle, an oasis in the city centre.
BEER BY LAKE
As the Debrecen public and the Debrecen Flower Carnival crowd have become accustomed to, this year the festival week will not be complete without the highly successful Nagyerdei Sörkert (Beer Garden on the Great Meadow). The event, which has a 10-year tradition, has been given a new foundation and completely new elements have been added. For a whole week, visitors will be able to enjoy a wide variety of Hungarian craft beers, alongside refreshments from foreign craft beer houses. During the event, a variety of gastronomic and cultural programmes will be on offer, with a range of food trucks offering culinary experiences, and food and beer tastings. The Nagyerdei Sörkert will be held during the week of the Debrecen Flower Carnival, between 15th and 21st August 2022, next to the Nagyerdei Békás lake.
Sting My Songs is a dynamic show featuring the most popular songs of the seventeen-time Grammy Award-winning artist’s career, whether they be Police or solo hits. Described as a “masterful production” from start to finish, the concert “takes fans on a musical journey through time” with songs such as Fields of Gold, Shape Of My Heart, Roxanne and Demolition Man in “unforgettable performances.” On the tour, which will stop in Debrecen on 29th September 2022 at the Phoenix Arena, the singer will be accompanied by an amazing team – guitarist Dominic Miller, drummer Josh Freese, guitarist Rufus Miller, keyboardist Kevon Webster, accordionist Shane Sager, and vocalists Melissa Musique and Gene Noble, with a performance by Joe Sumner to open the show.
ADVENT IN DEBRECEN
The Debrecen Advent Fair is one of the largest and most beautiful Christmas fairs in the region – with grand decorations, a quality gastronomic palette and a wide range of products, and a skating rink in front of the Great Church. Every year, the organisers aim to raise the quality of the Advent in Debrecen with a new attraction and, from 2021 onwards, a new fair layout. The aim is to make the city more festive by expanding the Advent programme, and to make the shops, shop windows and catering facilities in the city centre an integral part of the Advent celebrations.