In the second half of 2017, we bit off a bit more than we could chew: we acquired the lease right to use the long neglected shoreline at the Pest end of the Rákóczi Bridge, where we created an outdoor cultural entertainment place and community space. This became the cult of Valyo Harbor (which has only lived a season so far).
In 5 months, hundreds of performers played on our self-produced stage. Tens of thousands of guests enjoyed children’s, family, sports and entertainment programs in this hitherto neglected Danube area. We roasted and cauldroned in the sunset, made the Balkan Dog for hundreds and served kilometers of lines with lemonade, beer or whatever our guests lounging at the counter just wanted. The CAPA Center has set up a permanent photo exhibition in a pop-up gallery built of containers. Tilos (Forbidden) Radio checked in live from us every week from their retro caravan studio. Punk music and techno, children’s programs and the evening film screenings took place here, Csaknekedkislany performed with us, we held a reggae weekend under the direction of G Ras, we watched the football World Cup and we also organized craft fairs.
Of course, not everything was perfect, for the first time in our lives we operated a place of this size, moreover, it was almost immediately announced by the press as “the coolest place in Budapest this summer”. Accordingly, from early afternoon to early morning, a wide variety of people came from all over the world and the country. The presence and kind words of these people kept us in countenance / kept us going during the often 0-24 shifts.
As it was a lot of work, for the opening in May we started to clear the area already in March: used syringes, condoms, half-gone plastic bottles and metal cans – we collected an unimaginable amount of garbage here. And that was just the beginning! We built the power supply, pulled the stage out of nowhere, built a sandpit, sanded, drilled, carved for weeks to get everything ready for the opening. It wasn’t completely finished, of course, but in the end, for the summer, the high season, the Harbor stood there as if it had always been there.
And that’s when the thick of it started – alternating between parties till dawn, early afternoon kids’ programs and evening movies , but it was all worth it when more than once an unknown guest caught an organizer to say thank you.
We were not naive, we knew it would probably be a one-summer adventure, as it was already known at the time that the new Athletic Stadium would be built on the site of the Valyo Harbor. However, as a closing, at the site of the demolished Valyo Harbor, we still held an opening and closing party in March 2019, and we also operated the Mobile Sauna in this area for two winters.
In addition to Szabihíd, Valyo Harbor was our largest business, and we have been looking for a place to call home for a long time, although the future of the original site is not yet set in stone …