Ahead of the next year’s big 20th anniversary, this year’s edition had the already massive Serbian festival to reach its new historic peak on many different points, breaking its daily attendance record from the very start on Thursday and leading the final number over 200.000 music lovers from more than 90 countries who went through the festival gates in four days and nights.
Very diverse lineups that spread over 20 different stages and the additional 20 zones in the priceless scenography of the colossal 18th century Petrovaradin fortress, built up on a rock looking over the Danube to the charming city of Novi Sad, are one of the EXIT’s distinctive features that again left many lost for words. Some of the world’s leading music stars added to the overall experience including The Cure, Greta Van Fleet, The Chainsmokers, Carl Cox, Skepta, Amelie Lens, Paul Kalkbrenner, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Solomun, Tom Walker, IAMDDB, Jeff Mills, Chase & Status, Desiigner, Maceo Plex, Lost Frequencies and hundreds of others.
As the one of very few major festivals that was born from the social activism, EXIT once again welcomed the activists from the Standing Rock tribe who fight for preservation of life on Earth and gave a very powerful speech at the opening ceremony. The festival also featured video messages from Yoko Ono and world’s best tennis player, Novak Djokovic, who has launched a long-term cooperation between his and EXIT’s foundation for developing pre-school education in Serbia.
The opening day was officaly branded as the OPENS Day, an abbreviation from the “Omladinska Prestonica Evrope Novi Sad”, that translates from the EU title of the European Youth Capital which EXIT team initiated for its own hometown. It was the festival’s biggest day too, since on July 4th, the 56,000 visitors set the new daily attendance record, while the full-blooded concert of The Cure, the band that lead the bill of almost all major festivals this year, lifted the energy so high for what will turn out to be the best EXIT so far. The iconic DJ Carl Cox, both in his own solo set and in the rare back2back with Maceo Plex had the overwhelmingly big Dance Arena packed with 25.000 dancers and lead them for hours through night and sunrise, well into hot sunny morning until the 8am!
The smoking hot Friday night saw the leading world hitmakers, The Chainsmokers putting up a delirious show, followed by the drum and bass icons, Chase & Status, and preceeded by the legendary frontman of Pantera, Phil Anselmo. Dance Arena welcomed Berlin’s finest electronic superstar Paul Kalkbrenner, the equally popular German producer Boris Brejcha and the Korean with a stellar rise Peggy Gou.
The Saturday night fever justified the euphoria regarding the most talked about band, who many see as the saviours of rock music, Greta Van Fleet, and the flawless show by risingly popular Tom Walker. At the Arena, the dance continued with the 6-hour long rhapsody of the charismatic Ibiza boss Solomun who brought his famous “Solomun +1” party to Exit, featuring another EXIT’s regulars as his guests, the italian duo Tale of Us!
The explosive finale over at Main Stage had Skepta delivering rhymes from his new master peace album, the energetic trap hero Desiigner and the new trap-jazz diva, IAMDDB, while the spectacular show by world no.1 DJ duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike had people going wild with their high-energy show full of pyrotechnics and special effects!
On the last day at the Arene, the legendary Detroit virtuoso Jeff Mills and one of the leading DJs of the next generation, Dax J, delivered some of the finest techno from the 60-meter wide stage filled with the latest tech and LED screens that sum at 3000 square feet! The honor of closing the mts Dance Arena and the whole festival this year went to the global and universally loved techno hero Amelie Lens, who got her first ovations with thousands chanting her name as soon as she stepped on the stage! After two hours and the first 20-minute long encore, knowing about the strong relation between EXIT and the electronic giants The Prodigy, the Belgium superstar closed the whole festival with “Firestarter” honoring the late Keith Flint and celebrating life with 25.000 ravers that stayed until the very end at 8:30 in the Monday morning.
EXIT 2019 was a perfect intro to the big celebration set for the next year, called EXIT 2.0, that will mark 20th anniversary of the world–renowned Serbian festival.