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Festival Preview: EXIT 2019


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Novi Sad, Serbia hosts one of the biggest and best music festivals in south-eastern Europe. EXIT festival was founded in 2000 by student protestors rebelling against the president of the then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic. Since forcing him to resign, the four-day celebration has continued to be a force for social change and a gathering place for activists and has helped to re-establish the city as an arts hub of Europe.

Image courtesy of EXIT Festival

In 2021, Novi Sad is due to hold the title of European City of Culture and for many festival-goers, the attraction of the event lies largely in its integration with the historic town and the participation and engagement of local residents. EXIT Festival is located in and around the Petrovaradin Fortress, which represents an authentically preserved 18th-century citadel and is nicknamed the Gibraltar of the Danube.

This year’s line-up features several big names including Skepta, Peggy Gou, The Chainsmokers and Chase & Status as well as classic acts such as The Cure. These are among over 1000 artists playing across 40 stages and zones connected by cobbled streets and tunnels. Each act is eager to premiere new material live from albums released this year and the money raised from the very affordable ticket prices gets reinvested into Novi Sad’s student population, funding scholarships and cutting-edge research. The theme of this year’s festival is “Tribe” and EXIT is part of a series of five events across four countries which began with Sea Star festival in Croatia in May and will also visit Montenegro and Romania over the course of 2019.

As well as pop acts and rock bands, the festival ensures that dance music fans are well catered for. The dance arena is described as a real jewel of EXIT and hosts parties until 8 AM every day.

The event, which begins on 4th July, kicks off with festival veterans, The Cure and features appearances from legendary DJ, Carl Cox, post-rock group, 65daysofstatic and Belgian hitmaker, Lost Frequencies. Friday is due to have performances from The Chainsmokers and Chase & Status will be showcasing their recently released RTRN II JUNGLE material. Saturday sees global star DJ Snake take to the stage, joined by the notorious Greta Van Fleet and Sunday wraps things up with a line-up including grime stalwart, Skepta and Antwerp-based minimalist techno producer, Amelie Lens.

Serbia’s EXIT festival is one of Europe’s best and biggest. Although it might not have been around that long, it has quickly established itself as a serious player across genres and national borders. With four-day passes available for less than £100, it’s also serious value for money.

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