TRANSYLVANIA gets it in the neck through all that Dracula mythmaking but for a taste of its true folksy heritage look no further than a free festival taking over Albert Square next weekend (June 22-24) with a rich mix of live music and crafts, food and drink.
Góbéfest (pronounced Go-bee-fest) aims to celebrate the vibrant culture of the Székely Hungarians from a region that, translated literally as “the land beyond the forest”, also straddles Romania.
Major stumbling block maybe that pronunciation. ToM is looking forward to ordering a Tiltott Igazi Csiki Sör (craft beer) to accompany cheeses from Torockószentgyörgy (pictured).
Other treats in store include Kürtőskalács, a type of chimney cake originating from Székelyland but also highly popular in Hungary proper; Lángos, fried dough served with toppings such as grated cheese, creme fraiche and garlic; Hortobagyi pancake with paprika sauce and Hungarian sausage crunch; and that world famous stew, in its authentic form here, Gulyás (pictured below).
Free music on the main stag comes from the Harghita National Szekler Folk Ensemble and the Titita Hungarian Folk Dance Group performing from midday until late in the evening. Even local orchestra Manchester Camerata is getting in on the action, performing a setlist of compositions from 20th Century Hungarian-Romanian composer Béla Bartók, accompanied by Székely musicians on Friday evening.
Góbéfest have also got family-friendly art workshops running through the weekend, covering everything from music, to dance, to writing in szekler runic script – the old Hungarian alphabet. The activities are run by artists from Transylvanian and Székely territories, as well as representatives from the Erasmus Plus project. All these activities are free, with a £3 suggested donation to cover costs.
Góbéfest, Fri June 22-Sun June 24, 12pm-12am, Albert Square, Manchester, M60 2LA. Free.