- Odd News
Michael Eavis, God of Glastonbury, is standing up on a chair in the backstage area next to me trying to get a better view of Manchester band the Stone Roses, who have just come on.
We're nowhere near Glastonbury Tor though.
Welcome to the Sziget Festival, on Obuda Island in northern Budapest, which is now officially the best music festival in Europe, according to the European Festival Awards.
So what has made it number one and so irked - and intrigued - Eavis that he left the confines of his Pilton farm in Somerset to explore the festival, and maybe to seek some inspiration for future Glastonburys?
'It's very tidy and there's a great atmosphere,' Eavis admitted in the 30C sunshine. 'It's much cleaner than we are at home and it's a fantastic event. We've been running Glastonbury for 42 years and I'm not used to coming second so it's always good to check out what else is going on. And the city is superb.'
Eavis refuses to be drawn on whether the Stone Roses will be one of the headliners at Glastonbury next year. 'We have booked hundreds of bands already, but I'm not telling you which ones.'
I joined the 65,000 daily revellers who have been flocking to this bucolic, woody island for the past 20 years to party by boat.
A special festival ferry picked me up just outside my hotel and we chugged down the Danube, past the glorious parliament buildings under Budapest's Margaret bridge and down the huge muddy swathe of a river that bisects the old cities of Buda and Pest, before tying up on the far side of Obuda island with the deep bass groan reverberating from one of the 20 plus tents and stages.
Similar to Glastonbury, there's a certain wackiness at Sziget; performance artists wander around in a variety of guises, there's a theatre tent with circus performers, palm and mind readers, art tents, sculpture, literature, even cocktail bars. But there's also an order to proceedings that makes it feel less anarchic than its Somerset counterpart, although the camping is haphazard in the extreme and seemingly darned uncomfortable in some cases.
With its innovations including a cashless payment system, a huge internet room, an Olympic Games arena and sophisticated crowd-friendly sprinklers that emit a mist over the heads of the sweltering hordes, Eavis had plenty to take in as he pondered improvements for Glastonbury and how to regain his number one spot.
The festival also features the Sziget Eye - a big wheel that offers fantastic views over the site and beyond - bungee jumps, a 'Boris bikes' style bike hire scheme to explore the site and the city, and something you're unlikely to see at Glastonbury - an army recruitment stall.
Of course, one thing Glastonbury will never be able to improve is the unpredictable weather in Somerset in June. While Budapest tends to bask in the 30s in August, festivalgoers at Glastonbury are often in need of Wellington boots and a canoe to get around the flooded, muddy site.
And Eavis won't be able to compete with the low costs of drink and food - both on site and in the city.
More than half the crowd come from outside Hungary, with 4,000 Brits helping make up the 65,000 daily crowd and more than 350,000 attending over the week. Tickets cost €45 (£35) a day, €195 (£155) for a week pass and €225 (£179) for a week's pass with camping.
There were some rumblings among the locals - as well as the relative high cost of tickets to them - about the lack of Hungarian bands on the line-up. This year the headliners were Korn, Stone Roses, Snoop Dogg and The Killers. UK bands on the bill included the Horrors, Glasvegas, Hurts, Placebo, Crystal Fighters, Friendly Fires, The xx, Noah & the Whale, Leftfield, the Pogues, Ting Tings and Two Door Cinema Club.
Organisers also offer a city pass - €29 (£23) for a week or €9 (£7) for two days - which gives free travel on the buses/Tube/trams and ferries and reduced price entrance to most of the major attractions in the city.
And that's the great thing about Sziget; you are in the heart of one of the prettiest, most historic, laid-back cities on the Continent. Smart cafes, shops and restaurants rub shoulders with immaculately maintained and splendid buildings such as the St Stephen's basilica - named after the first king of Hungary - which houses the rather gruesome relic of what is believed to be his hand.
Built at the turn of the last century it is 315ft high - exactly the same height as the parliament buildings across the way - a symbolic gesture that the church, or the heavenly, and the worldly are equal.
Also worth a visit are some of the thermal spas for which the city is well-known - the Szechenyi up in the City park on the Pest side is the famous one where the old guys play chess all year round while sitting outdoors in the hot springs, even as the thick snow falls around them in the winter.
Back at the site the headliners on the last two days - Snopp Dogg and the Killers - brought the week to a thrilling climax. There were a lot of tired, sunburned and - despite the blocks of showers and proper toilets - grubby faces but mostly with beatific smiles thanks to a week well spent.
And when the last encore on the main stage came to a close - and you didn't fancy staying up all night in one of the dance tents - a short stroll took you back to the landing area for a ferry into the centre of the, by now, gloriously up-lit city, with its bridges and buildings sparkling in the dark, the majestic Buda Castle, high on the right bank, luring you home.
No wonder so many festivalgoers return year after year. Over to you, Mr Eavis.
EasyJet flies to Budapest from London Gatwick from £32.99. Return flights from £17.99. www.easyjet.com
Gary Edwards stayed at the Danube Novotel, Bem Rakpart 33-34, 1027 Budapest. Rooms cost from £100.