On this day 20 years ago, EXIT was born!

EXIT Noise Summer Fest was launched on June 29, 2000 in the park of the University of Novi Sad with performances by Urban Guerrilla, DJ Fakir and Dee Fejs. The festival lasted almost 100 days during which free concerts, parties, performances, film screenings, exhibitions, tribunes, performances were held every day. It was founded by a group of students with the intention of creating a movement for peace and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans, The project was conceived as an alternative cultural model to the one launched during the 1990s by state and parastate media with the aim of motivating young people to go to the polls in which the regime of Slobodan Milosevic was finally overthrown.

EXIT Noise Summer Fest 2000: 

The festival had two stages, “Šuma” (Wood), located in the park where the concerts were held and “Reka” (River) on the bank of the Danube where the best local DJs performed. At that time, no one could have imagined that these two stages, only a year later would grow into the Main Stage and the Dance Arena (originally called the DJ stage) of one of the biggest international music festivals at the beautiful Petrovaradin Fortress. The festival lasted for nine days in 2001, while in 2003 it was declared the State of EXIT, after which the festival received its recognizable form of four days.

For the past 20 years, the world’s leading media outlets such as the Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Times and many others have reported on Exit as one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. EXIT was officially proclaimed “Best Major European Festival” at the EU Festival Awards 2013 and 2017, while No Sleep Festival held in Belgrade, the youngest member of the EXIT festival family, took home the “Best New Festival” title at the European Festival Awards 2019. Also, EXIT’s Montenegrin edition Sea Dance Festival won the “Best Mid-Sized European festival” award in 2015. The European Festival Award is considered as one of the most influential festival awards in the world. EXIT has also won the “Best Overseas Festival” award at the UK Festival Awards in 2007, as well as “Best Summer Music Festival in Europe” title for 2016 by the travel portal “European Best Destinations” awarded in cooperation with the European Commission. In March 2018 Regional Cooperation Council awarded EXIT Festival as Champion of Regional Cooperation for 2017.

With regional festivals that have become perhaps the largest cultural bridge of Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro and other countries, EXIT crowned its mission of connecting the region, which has been at the core of its existence since the beginning when in 2001, when all young people from all over the Balkans for the first time since the wars met at the same place at the Petrovaradin Fortress. At that time, many destroyed bridges were rebuilt, but also new friendships were created that have lasted for two decades. Social responsibility is still the key aspect of the festival activities, with the main focus on environmental and humanitarian activities, the creative industries development, as well as regional cooperation. Through EXT Foundation, part of the EXIT Festival team that focuses on social activism, over 1000 activities, actions, campaigns and projects were organised in last two decades among which the “Youth Heroes” campaign, aiming to promote positive examples to the youth of Serbia, as well the campaign to abolish Schengen visas in 2009, when the then European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn pointed out the “State of EXIT” certificate he received as the best memory from Serbia. Two big humanitarian projects  that stand out are humanitarian football match “Aces for children” and EXIT AID 2014. “Aces for children” gathered Serbian football legends such as Radomir Antic, Bora Milutinovic, Predrag Mijatovic, Dejan Stankovic and others playing together for the same purpose – raising funds for the construction of a Niš clinical ward for children with cancer.   Over 120,000 euros were raised at this match.  EXIT AID, a program for assistance to those who were hit by unprecedented floods, marked the social work of the EXIT Foundation in 2014. Over 140,000 euros were raised. Last year EXIT started the environmental platform Green R: Evolution, within which Serbia committed to raise the country’s afforestation by planting almost 1 billion trees in the forthcoming years, with Serbia’s forests expected to increase from 28 percent to 40 percent of the country’s total surface area.

EXIT has so far generated 200 million euros in tourist income to the Serbian economy, while the value of the country’s international promotion, according to experts, is invaluable. 

In its 20 years of existence, EXIT hosted some of the leading names of the international music scene, including The Prodigy, The Cure, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys,  David Guetta, Skrillex, Migos, White Stripes, Moby, Martin Garrix, Avicii, Carl Cox, Guns N’ Roses, LCD Soundsystem, Sex Pistols, Motörhead, Slayer, Robert Plant, Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Liam Gallagher,  Beastie Boys,  Ellie Goulding, Faith No More, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Iggy Pop, The Chemical Brothers, Eric Prydz,  Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Solomun, Nina Kraviz, Paul Kalkbrenner, Sven Väth and many many others.

EXIT festival will be held from August 13 to 16 at the Petrovaradin Fortress, after the Serbian Prime Minister asked the EXIT festival not to cancel but move to August. Following all health and government guidelines, EXIT will open at least 20 stages and zones throughout the expansive Petrovaradin Fortress. One of the main precautionary measures, the number of attendees will be limited to 50%, in an area that can hold at least 90% of its usual capacity.

The festival will host an array of international music acts including: Robin Schulz, Amelie Lens, Paul Kalkbrenner, Boris Brejcha, Artbat, Nina Kraviz, Tale of Us, Black Coffee, Ofenbach, Burak Yeter, DJ Regard, , Roni Size b2b LTJ Bukem, Boris Brejcha, Meduza, Denis Sulta b2b DJ Tennis, Dax J b2b Kobosil, 999999999 live, Francois X, Juliana Huxtable, Monosaccharide, Marcel Dettmann,  VTSS, SPFDJ, Laibach, Obojeni program Massimo, Goblini, Buč Kesidi, Marko Nastić, Insolate, Andrew Meller, Ilija Djoković, Kristijan Molnar, Coeus, Space Motion, After Affair, Lag, Monosaccharide, Bokee and many more to be announced soon.

Nikki McNeill |Global Publicity

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