Trafó is the first name that comes to my mind when I think of alternative cultural centres in Budapest. It is located at the heart of the 9th district (Ferencváros).
The place sits in a building which was once a power-station (a ‘Trafó’), left abandoned during Communism, to be squatted by French anarchists at the beginning of the 90s. The place got funding and official support later on: Trafó officially opened its doors in 1998.
Trafó really deserves its second name ‘the house of contemporary arts’. If you go downstairs, you’ll find an exhibition space, as well as a nightclub. Upstairs, that’s where the stage is.
The place has the most interesting and eclectic event-calendar ever. It works as a theatre, a concert-hall, a workshop area, a gallery and a cafe… Contemporary dance companies regularly come to perform here, including Josef Nadj and Pal Franak.
There were some concerns in 2012 about Trafó’s management (but it seems the place is still hosting high-quality alternative plays…) so let’s just hope Trafó will remain what it’s been for years: an open and innovative place with quite a strong “social consciousness”, offering a bit of everything for everyone. Hopefully it will continue to feature world and oriental music too.