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INDEX – CULTURE – The founders from behind the VOLT and Balaton Sound Festival, farewell to the island

When founders and regulators say goodbye to what they call years and decades, everyone is guessing

  • what can i happen,
  • What processes are in the background,
  • why now

And the answer may be much simpler than you might first think. Of course, it is also true that nothing happens without a reason, and a story can have emotional, personal, and economic leads and precedents. All this is evidenced by the special edition of the index, which was put by Norbert Lebenwyn in this way:

We feel it is important to be present in festival life, but our decision is precisely that in this new system, where we no longer have the role of ownership, we felt it was a wiser decision to step back and say we were giving up for the professional team – whether we were talking about our Hungarian teammates or American owners who own fifty-one festivals worldwide – the type of management that includes Volt and Balaton Sound as well as the Sziget Festival.

They started together, so they walked

At the age of nineteen, two Sopron students, Zoltan Volop and Norbert Lubinwen, decided to hold the first serious festival of their lives. The year the island embarked on its journey to conquer the festival. Take a look at the small hall at City Sports Hall and kick off the VOLT Festival with five bands and guests.

The founders come out behind the VOLT and Balaton Sound Festival, say goodbye to the island


They say that those times were mostly characterized by a self-made attitude, and that’s exactly what that meant: they put up a poster, took a ticket, took a counter, organized a program. Strange as it may sound, this attitude still characterizes them today.

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The festival quickly grew on its own, it actually took place at the Lővér campground in 2001, and its value is shown by the fact that the owners of Sziget Kft joined in with a 50% interest in VOLT. And when their other venture, Balaton Sound, started in 2007, Sziget was already partly owned there.

These ownership stakes also indicate that many have watched the imagination of the largest Hungarian festivals develop at a good pace and rhythm, the feasibility of consolidated management is also shown by the fact that in 2010 Zoltan Volop and Norbert Lubinwen, but the company did. In addition to Sziget, Gyerek Sziget and Gourmet, she became the 100 percent owner of VOLT and Balaton Sound.

They were directed by four: Karoly Grenday, Gabor Takax, Zoltan Volop and Norbert Lubinwen.

And after seven years, the Americans appeared. 70 percent stake in Sziget Kft. Superstruct Entertainment now has about half a hundred festivals around the world.

They took me together and said goodbye

Although the above relates only to the background of the company’s changes, it illustrates a process from the heroic age of the birth of the galactic festivals. Zoltán Fülöp is about to say goodbye, that is, from 2023 he will no longer be the maker of the most important Hungarian festivals:

For us, it was a completely conscious decision. Our relationship is harmonious and good with our new owners as well. We also have a friendship with the staff working in the house, so we say goodbye without actually closing the door.

Zoltán Fülöp and Norbert Lobenwein have offered their assistance to the staff, so if necessary, they can rely on their advice in the future. In addition to all this, the talk also talks about

  • And that this is a farewell that affects them emotionally as well. These festivals are like having children.
  • whether there is a need for as many music festivals as Hungary can handle;
  • that public taste has also shaped the festival’s musical performances;
  • the age at which festivals can be organized, how and in what direction the taste of the program organizer changes over time;
  • How much public support does a music festival need and why is it necessary at all;
  • What made it easier to draw up a program for this year’s festivals;
  • And what are Zoltan Volop and Norbert Lubinwen doing now, that is, what life is like after the festivals.
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In the conversation, it was also announced that they will continue the City of Stars project related to the history of VOLT. The gist of this is that five festival artists receive a sculpture in Sopron each year, more precisely a uniquely designed chair – the work of Estefan Yves Zambo – and support a worthy Hungarian orchestra through their foundation in order to perform at the VOLT Festival on the big stage.

You can watch the full video by clicking on the player above, and you can access the podcast version of the chat below:

(Cover Photo: Lubinwyn Norbert, Bendik Toth and Zoltan Fulop. picture: Karip Tímea / index)