Novi Sad based EXIT is the first major festival in Europe to take place this summer, opening its gates on 8 July. This year, the multiple winner of the ‘Best European Major Festival’ award will also celebrate its 20th anniversary. But besides looking back, the organisers are also looking forward to a bright future. A total of 42,000 fans from over 70 countries enjoyed the first night, proving a strong point for the festival industry that they can take place safely and be part of our lives once again in the same way as large sporting events.
The Serbian event is no stranger to leading the way, being in the frontline of bringing peace and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans two decades ago and is accustomed to organising a festival in difficult circumstances. Thanks to the country’s mass vaccination campaign EXIT (and with it the concept of safe major festivals) once again became a reality last night.
Dusan Kovacevic, EXIT Founder & CEO said: “I believe this is our destiny. 20 years ago, after all the misery that happened in the Balkans during the 90's, EXIT was a symbol of returning to normal life for the region. And in 2021 EXIT festival is again a sign of normal life after the pandemic, but this time on a global level.”
“The energy created in the fortress when thousands of us were united again, elevated us to the highest possible level and opened a new dimension of the festival experience. I believe that each of us had to rub our eyes to make sure we’re not dreaming.”
It was a day of great emotions at the famous Petrovaradin Fortress, as music fans reunited and danced together once again to celebrate life and the return to normality. EXIT’s crowd is as colourful as it gets with over 50% of the 4-day ticket holders coming from abroad, representing more than 70 countries.
One of the headliners of the first day, Belgian star DJ Charlotte de Witte said: “Reuniting with tens of thousands of fans from all over the world is an emotional occasion. EXIT's mts Dance Arena is one of the most incredible open-air stages in the world and has such an atmosphere, especially in the early hours of the morning, when the sun is rising over the fortress walls. It is truly magical"
It was her first show in front of a large audience since the pandemic began, as she returned to the fortress after her performance in last year’s EXIT Life Stream. Back then with a restricted capacity of 500 people, now in a full capacity mts Dance Arena.
In a symbolic moment DJ Snake exclaimed during his headline set on the Main Stage:
“We are back!”
Proving the huge need for events like this one, EXIT 4-day tickets were sold out almost 1 week before the event started. The event will have 3 more days to go, finishing tomorrow (Sunday, July 11).
Brief summary of Day 1 programs
This year's EXIT program kicked off with performances from international and regional stars, including DJ Snake (FR) who headlined the Main Stage alongside legendary drum and bass artist Roni Size (GB), the first international headliner of EXIT from 2001, performing with MC Dynamite (GB). Regional artists warmed up the crowd, including Hladno Pivo (HR) and Senidah (SL).
The mighty mts Dance Arena is considered by many in the e-music world as the best dancefloor on the globe, so once again it was filled with tens of thousands of electronic music worshipers, waiting for the legendary sunrise over the fortress walls which is truly breathtaking. This year did not disappoint with headline sets from Charlotte de Witte (BE) and Amelie Lens (BE) and local stars Tijana T (RS) and Ilija Djokovic (RS).
The underground sounds of electronic music were showcased on the No Sleep Stage with the likes of Eelke Kleijn (NL), Agents of Time (IT) and Patrice Baumel (DE) with the Fusion stage hosting the best local and regional bands including Fran Palermo (HU), Marko Louis (RS), HEMI award nominees Sajzerbiterlemon (RS) and Helem Nejse (BA).
4 days of music:
The complete 4-day program from July 8 to 11 features over 20 stages and zones with an all-star line-up led by David Guetta, DJ Snake, Sabaton, Charlotte de Witte, Paul Kalkbrenner, Solomon, Amelie Lens, Maceo Plex, Robin Schulz, Asaf Avidan, Satori, Boris Brejcha, Honey Dijon, Hot Since 82, Meduza, Paul van Dyk, DJ Topic, Artbat, Sheck Wes and many others. Live streams can be watched at EXIT’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.
The festival was founded in 2000 in the University Park as a student movement, fighting for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans. After the downfall of the Milosevic regime, EXIT moved to the Petrovaradin Fortress in 2001. Social responsibility is still the key aspect of the festival activities, with the main focus on environmental and humanitarian involvement, the creative industries’ development, as well as regional cooperation. EXIT has been praised by the leading international media as one of the best music festivals in the world. During its 20 years history, EXIT has hosted internationally acclaimed music stars such as The Cure, The Killers, Guns N’ Roses, Franz Ferdinand, Motörhead, Iggy Pop, David Guetta, Massive Attack, Liam Gallagher, Fatboy Slim, Cypress Hill, Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, The Prodigy, Migos, Sex Pistols, Moby, Arctic Monkeys, Chemical Brothers, Faith No More, LCD Soundsystem, Nick Cave, Jamiroquai, Slayer, Ellie Goulding, Hardwell, Carl Cox, Avicii, Nina Kraviz and many others.
More info on the festival and the full schedule by day can be found on the festival's official website:https://www.exitfest.org/en/