Exit Festival 2011

Text: Vangelis Kamarakis| exitfest.org | twitter.com/exitfestival | facebook.com/exitfestival

When you come to think about what EXIT festival was able to pull off in just 11 years, you can be really impressed. What started as a political statement and a mild anti-Milosevic protest coupled with music concerts and other art projects, organized by three local students, ended up in being the biggest music festival this side of Europe. How does one do that in just a mere decade?

One obviously has to start with the basics, ie location, location, location. The 18th century Petrovaradin fortress on the coast of Danube where the festival is held for the past 10 years is a huge plus, comprising probably the most impressive site a festival could ask for. Of course the site by itself cannot suffice if the music is not worth travelling to Novi Sad. EXIT festival has been famous for inviting some of the most important bands and music acts to its premises. Coming from all possible genres and focusing on both the commercial and underground aspect of music each EXIT line up is one a festival can boast of. Only this year and with part of the line up still pending to be announced, festival goers can check out acts like Arcade Fire, Portishead, MIA,Grinderman, Underworld, Beirut, Kreator, Deadmau5, Santigold just to name a few. Pivotal to EXIT’s success is the fact that it practically runs all day. Compared to many European festivals which only go up to 1-2 AM, this is the time when the Serbian Festival likes to present its top acts to its crowd thus converting its infamous all-night dance arena to one of its key selling points.

All these would still not suffice if it was not for the festival’s extrovert character. While being proud of supporting the broader Balkan- South Eastern European Music scene EXIT decided almost since its beginning that like its host country , Serbia, it needs to open its arms to the world if it is going to have any chance in being successful . One can only take a look at its website to be convinced. www.exitfest.org runs in 15 languages, is extremely well made and its e- travel office can help even the most ignorant of travelers plan his/her trip. This is probably why nowadays, the festival goers from abroad tend to outnumber the locals.

This year, the festival is taking place in early July (7-10th) and its 4 days all access pass still cost no more than 89 pounds (almost 102 euros), which is significantly cheaper than the price most of its competitive festivals ask for.

Having said all the above, it is still difficult to understand why Greece never managed to sustain a festival even comparable to EXIT. With such a possibility far from being foreseeable in the near future, we can only rejoice that Novi Sad is not that far away…