Day 3 begins with a gargantuan effort to beat the queues and ascend the Dreher Sky Bar. There’s nothing like an early afternoon pint whilst sitting at a bar suspended 21m in the air from a crane, with breathtaking views of the city and festival site, although this is definitely not for the fainthearted, or indeed for those who can’t manage to hold onto their cameras tightly enough to prevent them from being swept away in the wind.
Sziget virgins Papa Roach take to the stage amidst an air of expectation from a local crowd who’d never seen the band in Hungary before, not to mention the punishing 3pm sun, which pushes temperatures up into the high 30s. In general, the band give a good account of themselves, the afternoon crowd swelling as passers-by stopped to get a closer look. Unfortunately, singer Jacoby Shaddix isn’t in top form, becoming visibly out of breath and scuffing several large choruses as a result.
Mika, on the other hand, delivers one of the surprise performances of the festival. Those ‘too cool’ for his cleverly-crafted uplifting pop might well point to his ‘annoying falsetto’ (read ‘stunning vocal range and operatic talent’) but his set far eclipses the headliners 30 Seconds To Mars, who look unsure of how to adapt their set to the highest billing other than wheeling out teenage girls to dance around a bit. Mika, on the other hand, subtly modifies his material to suit the occasion. The accentuated synth line in Rain turns radio-friendly pop into something verging on trance, while Lollipop begins with the backing band drumming on dustbins. Mika doesn’t just rattle through his material; he performs it, and is notably one of only a handful of acts to address the crowd in Hungarian. Even cynics had been won over by the end of the set, the enormous Nagyszinpad crowd dancing unashamedly to Budapest’s latest guilty pleasure.
The next stop was the World Stage, to see what British klezmer outfit Oi Va Voi have to offer, which turns out to be a stunning headline slot, mixing entrancing vocals with virtuoso violin.
The day ends in the awe-inspiring Medusza arena, one of the two main dance venues. The roofless cylinder with floors that slope into a pit, and whose walls are illuminated with trippy video graphics, plays host to NOVAK 3D DISCO. While the 3D glasses are cumbersome and more than a little gimmicky, dancing around as hypnotic graphics jump out at revellers is definitely an experience.