Founder of The Prodigy: EXIT Is Our Favourite Festival, We Love the People in Serbia

"EXIT is our favourite festival! We were there (in Serbia) when a lot of sh*t went down. They hold us in their hearts as a special bend, and we love the people there" – said Liam Howlett, the creator, founder, producer, musical backbone and driving force behind the most influential electro-punk band in history, The Prodigy.

20. December 2022. — Author: EXIT

The cult band’s unbreakable bond with the local audience began on 8th December 1995 in Belgrade’s Pionir Hall, with a historic musical event that changed Serbia. This bond has only grown stronger during the two decades of the EXIT festival.

This iconic band’s first concert in Serbia was organised at the initiative of renowned music critic Dragan Ambrozić, while production manager Zlatko Jošić also took part in the organization. Regarding the band’s big return to EXIT 2023, Ambrozić said that The Prodigy know they are coming “to their second home, to their people, because we share a common dream.”

“This re-energises everyone who has already seen them and everyone who hasn’t had the opportunity to come to EXIT before, to all who know that miracles are possible in this country if we want them strongly enough. EXIT protects that shared dream, which started with one concert before growing and expanding through EXIT itself, “Ambrozić points out.

The arrival of The Prodigy in 1995 was the first major concert in a country affected by wars and sanctions. At the time, the album “Music For The Jilted Generation“ shook the global scene, cementing its cult status and becoming the epitome of the new, hybrid rave punk movement and the voice of a rejected generation. The song “Breathe had its premiere at Pionir Hall, and “Firestarter was played for the second time ever. Liam Howlett, the author of these and all other songs of the band, examined the audience’s reactions to the sound of the upcoming album “The Fat Of The Land“, which would go down in music history as the cause of the planetary electronic music craze. For “No Good“, the band brought a girl from the audience to the stage, and that scene is still remembered as “the moment when Serbia danced with the world again.”

“Of course, we remember that concert; we were very aware of everything going on. We are terribly proud and moved when we talk about it with people from Serbia; we are connected by love and respect. Serbia is one of The Prodigy’s spiritual homes; there will always be a powerful connection between us, “ recalled Liam Howlett in an interview almost two decades later.

The Prodigy, carrying the voice and rhythm of the jilted, met a lost generation and gave it new energy, strength, and a sense of freedom, rebellion, and revolution through music. This connection has strengthened through the years at the EXIT festival, and the energy lives on almost three decades later through old and new generations who understand the band’s unique, socially engaged message. 

“The message is straightforward and clear — you can be different; you can live your life the way you imagined it — and every generation has taken it to heart. The Prodigy played a vital role in that; they confirmed that EXIT is part of that dream that a person can live with dignity and according to one’s own standards. They are one of the most important experiences EXIT has brought to this environment repeatedly, and EXIT and The Prodigy continue to protect the authentic artistic quality of music, “ Ambrozić concludes.

The local fans who lived through “The Prodigy experience“ showed their gratitude by breaking the Main Stage attendance record each time the band came to EXIT, and The Prodigy expressed their loyalty over the years by returning to the well-known stage again and again. The reciprocity of inspiration and influence between this iconic band and our society is evidenced by the song Medicine from the album “The Day Is My Enemy“, in which Liam Howlett admitted to being inspired by the traditional sound of the Balkans in a Reddit AMA.

During the tour on which they promoted this very album in 2016, The Prodigy changed their schedule at the last minute to perform at the EXIT festival, spurred on by a poll in which as many as 92% of the 25,000 respondents declared that they wanted to see the electro-punk giants perform again in Serbia. When the band heard of this survey, they decided to book a show for a fourth consecutive night and put the Petrovaradin Fortress on the global music map once more. This was their last performance at Exit thus far.

The Prodigy have announced a big comeback tour for 2023, during which they will visit the most prominent European festivals and which is already enjoying the status of next year’s most requested tour. Inevitably, the tour’s schedule includes EXIT Universe, in which the audience will once again be sent Out of Space.