Exit is a truly superb festival and an unforgettable experience definitely worth visiting and living. The combination of its medieval fortress -called Petrovaradin – location situated on the right bank of the Danube River and the ample range of musical genres it has been offering throughout the years it is active, is making Exit a progressively popular festival.
It began in 2000 as a student protest against Milosevic regime so as to bring people together through music, and since its inception in 2001 it has grown from an annual attractor in South-Eastern Europe to one of the largest and most significant festivals in Europe. It has actually lived up to be “the best European festival” voted by UK Festivals awards in 2007. The 18th century fortress is an ideal place in terms of acoustic performance preventing any sound interference among its 20+ different stages which are located one next to the other, disposed to please every distinct and selective taste. Main Stage, Dance Arena, Explosive Stage, Fusion Stage, Happynovisad Stage, Riffs and Beats just to name a few.
Moreover, Exit is not just a festival, but also represents the creativity and positivity of the young people to fight and defend their beliefs, hopes and dreams. Aside from the quality music program and the impressive setting in the fortress, it is defined by the endless energy of its people. In that way, Exit has earned international recognition and one could say that it has determined the open-minded generation of young people in Serbia. Apart from the domestic visitors, more than 2 billion people from over 60 countries around the world have visited the festival so far. It’s no wonder that so many people claim that this festival is the best one they have ever been to.
This year it lasted for 5 days. It actually took place from July 10th to the 14th in Serbia’s second biggest city, Novi Sad that is characterized as a major cultural center. Looking back in the 19th century Novi Sad gained the byname Serbian Athens, while nowadays it is home to the Exit festival, as well as to the only festival of new and alternative theatre in Serbia. Up from the Petrovaradin Fortress the view is breathtaking and under it there are catacombs a (16 km of underground countermine system) that are without doubt a work of great merit.
Exit was unquestionably the place to be this summer for a large number of reasons. First of all, it is a logical priced festival, which possesses the title of the best arena in the world and in total welcomes about 25 thousand visitors. The outstanding and multifaceted line-up combined with the restless energy and vibe of the people and the magical atmosphere of the place would challenge anyone to attend it. Exit is also a must go, since it has kept its revolutionary character and during these five days, the festival featured about 600 performers both from the music and non-music world together with visitors from 60 countries worldwide. It absolutely fulfilled our expectations and provided us with a magnificent experience and an opportunity to celebrate dancing the night away.
Exit Village is by far the most popular gathering place for Exit visitors, both native and international, the place where an immemorial energy is spreading. People from all over the world, are always willing and open to meet new persons and socialize. Furthermore, they have the chance to party enjoying the non-stop music, eat, shop, play water sports, sleep in tents, and have quick access to the fortress. All of these features made the village a unique and irreplaceable festival experience. The Village opened its gates on Monday, July 8th. The reception was always at our disposal in order to answer questions and clear any doubts.
DAY ONE – 10th July
After hours of coach travel from Thessaloniki straight to Novi Sad, we set up tent in the camping grounds and headed to the Petrovaradin fortress, which according to our guided tour there, was captured by the Austrian Army after 150 years of Turkish control in 1687. The Petrovardin fortress was now though overloaded with people of all nationalities, backgrounds and ages. The gates of the Fortress opened at 7:30pm with an immense crowd of visitors steadily filling up the area in front of the main festival stage, where the whole opening ceremony occurred.
On this very day was also the birthday of Nikola Tesla, one of the most important and innovative scientists of all time whose inventions influenced the world and civilization dramatically. Tesla was a pioneer of alternating current, radio, wireless telegraphy, and radar technology and the main stage was named after him in recognition of his noteworthy contribution. For that reason, there was a giant magnificent Tesla coil in the middle of the crowd area.
The program for the first night of the EXIT R:Evolution began entirely on the main stage. with the opening act of “Marchelo” and “Iskaz“, followed by the spectacular Viva Vox Choir, whose voices were echoing throughout the fortress and proving that human voice has innumerous possibilities and can definitely substitute every musical instrument and sound. About ten thousands of people did not matter the shadowy skies, the sporadic thunders and the light rain, and nor did the whole administration of the festival, so the program at the Main Stage went on as planned.
After a lot of splendid fireworks, a pleasant surprise, the mythical and genuine Nile Rodgers in a slick white suit and the Chic conquered the stage with their wild energy and amazing stage performance. Rodgers is one of the most important music producers, having worked on ten greatest albums in the history of music, including Madonna‘s, David Bowie‘s and so on.
Nile Rodgers suddenly addressed to the horde of people : “Serbia, are you ready to party? We’re gonna take you back to the days of disco, funk and Studio 54!“ and the crowd gave a passionate and enthusiastic response to him right back.
With a fascinating rhythm section which drove us crazy and his band “Chic“, the creator of the ultimate hit “Get Lucky” started playing all these treasures, songs that remained vivacious with the pass of the time such as “Freak Out”, “I Want Your Love”, “We are Family”, “Let’s Dance”, “Like a Virgin” among others.
Before the group broke David Bowie‘s “Let’s Dance” loose, Rogers cried out “Serbia, we hear that you are THE party people” and then people proved Rogers right!
Although they weren’t supposed to play “Get Lucky”, to the surprise of the audience, they did and that led to the excitement of all the people who started dancing around again like crazy.
In that way, a perfect party mood was set at the opening ceremony of the first night without doubt by the legendary Nile Rodgers and his band Chic, one of the most influential bands of the 70s which was followed by the magical performance by Arcadia in Tesla‘s honor. The party continued deep into the night, reminding all visitors of the good energy Exit Festival with the energetic performance of the band Xsilent.
As we walked across the bridge, watching Novi Sad into a pure Exit mood, our exhaustion from the 15 hours of coach travel had absolutely disappeared and had turned into enthusiasm and craving for the next day that was near to come.
Local Suicide would like to thank Julien Barrat for the great photos.