The acts you must see at Exit Festival 2019

The Serbian super-fest kicks off next weekend, here's the sets you shouldn't miss

The drawbridge is down, the beats are cranking up and we’re a week away from the fortress-based sonic phantasmagoria that is Exit Festival 2019. The event that began life as a protest against the Milošević regime and grew into one of the most celebrated and decorated festivals in Europe brings one of its greatest line-ups ever – and one of its strongest streams of rock yet – to the stunning medieval Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad this year. Here’s the pick of the bunch and, now you’re suitably fired up for the party of the summer, you can grab a ticket here.

 

The Cure

Ever since Robert Smith watched Duran Duran play at Bestival in 2015, thought ‘I wish they’d just play the hits’ and had his own lightbulb moment, The Cure have been amongst the most incredible festival bands in the world. Their greatest hits set is a tsunami of noir pop gold, from the breeziness of ‘The Lovecats’, ‘Friday I’m In Love’ and ‘In Between Days’ to the spacious import of ‘Pictures Of You’, ‘Fascination Street’ and ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’.

Greta Van Fleet

A sensation Stateside, Michigan’s Greta Van Fleet are making serious inroads into Europe this year with their electrified, hi-octane blues and country rock topped with singer Josh Kiszka’s moon-howling vocals resembling Robert Plant wired on Viagra. Arena’s beckon, so catch them while you can still bask in the flap of their voluminous new age trousers.

The Chainsmokers

From their earliest days of putting together remixes of indie acts, Alex Pall and Drew Taggart have become one of the biggest DJ duos in the world (at least while Daft Punk remain encased in their shut-down pods). Theirs is an all-encompassing style – “blurring the lines between indie, pop music, dance music, and hip-hop,” according to Taggart – but their live sets are one hundred percent rave pop spectacle. Danceageddon, right here.

65daysofstatic

It’s a bumper year for hard rock at Exit, with all sorts of monstrous punk metal mayhem being flung around like burning axes by the likes of Kaoz, October Drift, Roir, Thundersteel, Grimegod and – oh yes – Siberian Meat Grinder. Straddling the divide between the electro, hard rock and atmos-rock elements of the weekend are the frankly phenomenal 65daysofstatic, currently working with algorithmic techniques that threaten to create the world’s first post-rock AI.

Skepta

The grime armies march eastwards, as Skepta scouts out Serbia as the next territory for this onrushing scene to invade. Clutching the 2016 Mercury Prize for ‘Konnichiwa’ and a brand new Number Two album in the shape of ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’. There won’t be any bliss in remaining ignorant of this grime-master’s formidable flow. “I went silver, I went gold, I went platinum, so what’s next?” he asks in ‘Bullet From A Gun’. World domination, mate.

Chase & Status

2017’s ‘Tribe’ went distinctly drum’n’bass, whereas this year’s forthcoming ‘RTRN 2 JUNGLE’ should probably be taken at face value. But whichever angle they take on record, Chase & Status’s live sets are electro extravaganzas, often performed from warring podiums and featuring an array of guests. We’ve got our fingers crossed for their recent electro-rock collaboration with Slaves…

Carl Cox

A godhead of the Balearic scene and stalwart of the UK’s biggest and best dance clubs, Cox has been at the forefront of the dance and EDM movements since the early ‘90s, and his kudos and clout as one of the original superstar DJs has barely waned since. Hence he heads up a Dance Arena boasting a dazzling array of rising electro stars, and will show them all how it’s really done.

Desiigner

Snapped up by Kanye West for his GOOD Music roster after having a US Number One with trap smash ‘Panda’ in 2016, Brooklyn rapper Desiigner has since popped up on records by Pusha T, Tyga, BTS and Silk City as he charges up his debut album proper. His live appearances have been described as “celebrations of positive energy”, so crack open a hearty can of good vibes and come check out his latest collection.

IAMDBB

IAMDBB – or I Am Diana De Brito if we’re going to be formal – is the latest rising star of urban jazz and neo-soul, coming to prominence in 2016 thanks to a collaboration with Flying Lotus on ‘JAZB’ and since blazing her way to a Sound Of 2018 nomination thanks to chill-glitch singles like ‘Drippy’ and ‘Shade’, the video for which made a convincing argument for swimsuits as the perfect heist-wear.

Amelie Lens

Ditching fashion runways for a life on the decks, Belgian DJ and producer Lens – co-founder of Lenske record label – has stolen the hearts and hips of countless clubs across Europe and America with her artful bend of tribal beats, minimalist techno and drips of purest ‘80s acid.