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Social Engagement at EXIT Festival 2024: An Emphasis on Mental Health and Authentic Life Experiences

This year's edition of the EXIT festival at the Petrovaradin Fortress will again offer a diverse musical lineup and a series of socially responsible activities for all visitors.

8. July 2024. — Author: EXIT

Through the “Life Is Live“ initiative, created in cooperation with UNICEF and supported by the European festival association YOUROPE, attention will be drawn to the growing problem of digital addiction among young people. Visitors will enjoy a healthier festival experience with natural cocoa drinks available at several locations on the Fortress, thanks to Cacao Я:Revolution, a collaboration between EXIT and the Ada Divine Awakening festival.

The festival’s eco-friendly side will be represented through the Green EXIT platform, where teams of mobile workers and recycling machines will collect recyclable packaging. The INSPIRE project will offer campers the chance to try zero-plastic shampoos and bath products, while the State of EXIT zone will bring together organizations promoting social responsibility and activism. This year, the musical program will be enhanced by the HEMI project, which encourages youth creativity and international collaboration. As part of its socially responsible mission, EXIT is making another significant change; the festival’s opening ceremony will not feature fireworks. Moreover, thanks to the 50+ daily and nightly trains provided by Srbijavoz between Belgrade and Novi Sad, visitors can easily reach the Petrovaradin Fortress.

The importance of mental health among young people today has been highlighted by the EXIT festival’s strong initiative to turn real, genuine stories deeply rooted in authentic life experiences into tangible events that will be created, built, and enriched through in-person interactions. These stories, where we truly meet one another, embrace, show compassion, and understand the needs of others, as well as those stories in which we seek answers through love and empathy, represent the heart and soul of this year’s EXIT festival and the “Life Is Live” campaign, conducted by the EXIT Foundation and UNICEF with support from the European festival association YOUROPE, while the platforms lifeislive.org and svejeok.rs will offer educational content and anonymous support to young people.

The festival will feature an exhibition across the Petrovaradin Fortress with inspiring messages about compassion, love, and mental well-being, emphasizing the importance of community. The exhibition will showcase powerful messages such as “Compassion will save the world,” “Understanding is an act of love,” “Be gentle with yourself,” “Whatever the question, love is the answer,” and “Be kind to yourself and others.”

It is crucial to emphasize the significance of youth mental health in the digital age, as young people want and need to be part of a community that remembers real stories for a lifetime, not just 24 hours, as is often the case in the digital world. In addition to promoting the importance of mental health, this year’s festival will feature quotes from Nikola Tesla, further adding to the inspiring atmosphere.

During the EXIT festival, experienced volunteers from the Center “Srce” will be available to support and hear young people who feel the need to share their thoughts and emotions. Center “Srce” tents will be set up in various locations within the EXIT camp, Foodland, and the State of EXIT zone.

EXIT festival continues to promote healthy life choices among young people through the Cacao Я:Evolution initiative, supported by the Ministry of Health. Visitors will be able to enjoy a completely natural cocoa drink that replenishes energy, stimulates happiness hormones, and has numerous health benefits. EXIT festival stands out as one of the first festivals in the world to offer young people the option to have fun in a way that promotes health and awareness.

Driven by deep empathy and a desire to help and support children battling serious illnesses, the EXIT festival is implementing its longstanding “Stars4Kids” project, where celebrities donate personal items (instruments, clothing, etc.) for an online auction. Each item carries a unique story and a piece of its donor’s heart.

The EXIT festival will also include performances by three more foreign bands and the band Keni Nije Mrtav, holders of the prestigious HEMI Music Awards! These performances are a result of the Hub for the Exchange of Music Innovation (HEMI) project, established in 2020 as a form of cooperation between 10 partners from 9 Central and Southeast European countries (CSEE). HEMI is an initiative that encourages creative expression by young people not only in the music industry but also in startup companies through the Incubator and Accelerator programs. The Creative Europe program, the Ministry of Culture and Information, and the City Administration for Culture of Novi Sad support this project.

An extensive recycling campaign will be conducted through the Green EXIT platform in collaboration with Ball Corporation Serbia under the “Every Can Counts” program, HEINEKEN Serbia, Ekostar Pak, Coca-Cola, Solagro Smart Recycling, and TOMRA. The INSPIRE project will also implement a campaign to promote zero-plastic cosmetics.

This year, the mobile packaging collection program will be expanded with rewards, so be sure to look out for team members carrying backpacks full of cans, PET bottles, and plastic cups. Promoters will issue a voucher for each empty drink container, and visitors will be able to exchange 5 vouchers for a reward – a free Heineken Silver or a Coke Zero. In addition to the mobile collection system, TOMRA recycling machines will be located near the Visa Fusion stage and the Main stage, where visitors are invited to hand in cans and PET bottles. 

The vouchers for collected cans, bottles, and cups can be exchanged for a reward at one of six exchange points, including the Pachamama stage, Visa Fusion stage, Explosive Stage infused by Old Spice, Wenti Wadada Positive Vibrations Reggae stage, NSNS Stage Refreshed by Heineken Silver, and near the Main stage. 

As part of the festival’s eco-segment, there is the collaboration with the Recan Foundation, which has been successfully implemented across all festivals in the EXIT family for years. At this year’s EXIT, through the “Every Can Counts” project, all visitors will have the opportunity to create their own artwork by recycling cans in the famous Pixelata, serving to remind the audience of aluminum’s endless recycling potential at the State of EXIT zone, as well as the letters “I Love Music” with a digital counter where visitors can dispose of cans at one of the Fortress’s most attractive locations near the Clock Tower.

All packaging waste collected through these activities will be redirected to recycling by the operator Ekostar Pak.

Through the INSPIRE project, of which the EXIT Foundation is one of 26 partners, campers will have the opportunity to try zero-plastic shampoos and bath products. INSPIRE is one of two eco-innovative programs, along with the REMEDIES project, and is part of initiatives supported by the HORIZON EU Mission Ocean, aimed at attracting public interest in preserving aquatic ecosystems.

The State of EXIT zone represents the heart of the social program at the EXIT festival. It brings together organizations and institutions from Novi Sad, Serbia, the region, and Europe. Located at an attractive spot on the Petrovaradin Fortress, this zone is a place where organizations and institutions that promote social responsibility and activism come together. The State of EXIT zone continues to be the epicenter of interactive programs, discussions on regional support, and idea exchange among young people from around the world, enriching the festival with additional content.