Live music is set to make a very welcome return this summer after an unexpected year off. The prospect of safely taking in all the glorious sights, sounds and sensations of a music festival is one that we’re all now truly savouring. So where better to reignite your love for all things live music this summer than with a trip to Novi Sad, Serbia to experience the one and only EXIT Festival?
This year’s four-day extravaganza, which is also serving as the 20th anniversary edition of EXIT, is likely to be one of the first major international festivals to take place in 2021, with EXIT living by a simple but essential mantra this year: celebrate life. Let’s permit Dušan Kovačević, the founder and CEO of EXIT Festival, to elaborate on his hopes for what this year’s EXIT will bring to the festival landscape.
“Considering all the difficulties we have been facing for over a year, we already feel that the big bang of positive energy will create a new dimension of the festival experience and make this year’s EXIT unique in the history of the festival,” Kovačević enthused recently after the local authorities in Novi Sad gave EXIT the green light to proceed in 2021. Kovačević has stressed, it should also be noted, that the “top priority” in the festival’s planning for July is the health and safety of all attendees, artists and crew at this year’s EXIT.
The word “unique”, though, certainly applies to EXIT Festival. After all, how many music festivals have you attended where you’ve had the opportunity to rave within the walls of an 18th century fortress? If that’s piqued your interest, then you’ll be delighted to hear that there’s plenty more to discover about this enchanting Serbian event.
1. EXIT Festival humbly started out as a student protest
EXIT’s origin story dates back to 2000, when a student activist movement successfully campaigned for democracy, freedom and peace in Serbia and across the Balkans. Over the course of 100 days, stages were erected between Novi Sad’s University Park and the Danube river in protest against the Milošević regime. The movement’s slogan, ‘EXIT way out of a 10-year madness’, had the desired effect as the 2000 Yugoslavian general election began days after the end of the first-ever EXIT, initiating the process of finally ending Milošević’s regime.
The following year, EXIT relocated to its current home at the Petrovaradin fortress and started an annual traditional of festivities, partying and celebration that continues to this day.
2. There’s a 16km-long network of mysterious tunnels underneath the Petrovaradin fortress
EXIT Festival, as we mentioned, takes place inside the ramparts of the stunning Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad – you can learn all about its storied history here. But let’s take a moment to marvel at the secretive tunnels which can be found beneath the fortress. Spread across four stories and spanning 16km in length, the walls of the ‘Petrovaradin underground’ feature numerous historical symbols and fascinating inscriptions – while there’s also a persisting myth about hidden treasure lurking somewhere in the labyrinth…
3. Music lovers from nearly 90 countries have visited EXIT Festival over the years
EXIT estimates that almost 3.5 million people from across the world have experienced their festival since its inception in 2000 – there’s clearly a global party going on in Novi Sad every summer.
4. The average EXIT festivalgoer takes up to 130,000 steps during the length of the festival
We all love checking on our smartphones to see how many steps we’ve managed in a single day. But expect the combination of exploring EXIT’s expansive festival grounds, traversing the city of Novi Sad and raving until the early hours to help you clock up some record step stats this summer.
5. EXIT’s live music programme typically runs from 7pm to 8am
Plenty of time to sleep/sunbathe/recover – and explore the picturesque streets of Novi Sad and the beautiful bank of the Danube – in the day-time, then.
6. EXIT’s spectacular Dance Arena is the place to go to watch the sun come up
The world’s electronic and dance music scenes tend to convene at the Petrovaradin fortress every July for EXIT, and they know exactly how to keep the party going until well after the sun comes up at the 25,000-capacity mts Dance Arena.
7. EXIT’s artist hospitality team have covered nearly 620,000km driving the artists to and around the festival site since 2000
Get your calculator out: that’s the equivalent of circumnavigating the planet over 15 times!
8. The festival has previously welcomed the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Wu-Tang Clan and The White Stripes
Over the course of its 20-year lifespan, EXIT has witnessed some truly top-tier artists play at their festival. As well as the aforementioned trio of legends, the likes of Massive Attack, the Beastie Boys, Grace Jones, Pulp, Iggy Pop, The Prodigy, M.I.A., Motörhead, Kraftwerk and The Killers have all performed at EXIT, while The Cure headlined the festival’s last edition in 2019.
This year’s line-up includes the likes of David Guetta, Tyga and DJ Snake – you can check out the current EXIT 2021 line-up here.
9. EXIT Festival is now accepting Bitcoin as payment for tickets
Fancy paying for your festival ticket using cryptocurrency? You’re in luck when it comes to EXIT, which this year is accepting Bitcoin as payment for festival passes as well as camping tickets and lockers. You can find out more about EXIT’s innovative Bitcoin policy here.
10. Over 15,000 songs will be played during this year’s EXIT Festival
Value for money? You love to see it.