fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Exit 2.0: back to the future of the Balkans’ biggest festival

Exit Festival, a live music event spawned from the desire for peace and freedom in the Balkans, is turning twenty years old this year, with a brand new set of social aims appearing at the top of its agenda.

Founded by Dusan Kovačević, Ivan Milivojev, Bojan Boskovic and Milos Ignjatovic in 2000, the first edition of Exit Festival took place in University Park in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, with the objective of connecting like-minded Balkan people and encouraging political engagement among the youth.

“Exit was the first mass gathering of young people from former Yugoslavian countries after the Balkans War [which took place from 1991-1999],” Sagor Mešković, the festival’s chief communications officer, explains to IQ. “It started off as a youth activism movement for peace in Serbia and the Balkans.”

“After ten years of war and isolation in the region, the first edition of the festival was characterised by a feeling that normal life was back again,” adds Exit co-founder Kovačević. “Emotions were so high, that most of the artists said that they played the best concert of their tour , or even their whole career, at the event.”

Twenty years on, Exit Festival has just enjoyed its biggest year yet, welcoming 200,000 fans to its permanent site at Novi Sad’s Petrovaradin Fortress for four days of performances from the likes of the Cure, Carl Cox, Amelie Lens, the Chainsmokers and Greta van Fleet.

“After ten years of war and isolation in the region, the first edition of the festival was characterised by a feeling that normal life was back again”

Adding to its flagship event, the Exit team have now developed an extended festival network, providing “the biggest cultural bridge between the countries of the former Yugoslavia” in the form of No Sleep Festival in Serbia, Sea Star in Croatia, Revolution Festival in Romania and Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro.

This unique history and ethos is the driving force behind the desire for Exit to remain independent.

“Exit didn’t start for profit,” states Kovačević. “I respect the investment funds that are taking over festivals – they are still doing great shows and people are having fun – but we have decided to stay independent because we know the festival world needs something like this.”

With so much history behind them, the twentieth anniversary of Exit Festival is “important on so many levels, not just for us, but for the whole region,” says Kovačević.

Exit 2.0, as the anniversary event is dubbed, will look to the future as well as celebrating of the past, a fact reflected in the very programming of the festival. “We are going to bring back some of the acts that marked our history and mix them together with those who are making an impact in this day and age,” states Kovačević.

With over 20 stages and even more genres of music, Exit’s line-ups are broad and diverse, frequently seeing pop stars and leading electronic acts headlining alongside rock, and even metal, bands. A dedicated Latin stage has been present at Exit since day one, which now seems “almost prophetic”, given the global Latin music rise we see today.

“I respect the investment funds that are taking over festivals, but we have decided to stay independent because we know the festival world needs something like this”

Although line-ups are always eclectic, the billing never tends towards the generic due to the team’s habit of booking based on “gut feeling”, in addition to using data, metrics and ticket sales figures. “The irrational part of us is the one that makes a good line-up,” states Mešković. On a more personal level, the team also strive to work with the artists “who have a similar ethos to ours.”

For Exit, it is vital to “be one with the audience”, making sure every decision is guided by the wants and needs of the fan. To this end, the festival aims to keep tickets affordable, especially for the local audience. “We never want to lose our local fans,” says Kovačević, “because if we did, we would lose our soul.”

In addition to its core audience of locals, Exit’s fan base has become more and more international over the years. Fans travel to Serbia from elsewhere in Europe, as well as from Asia, America and Australia to attend the event.

“We are bringing a lot of tourism into the country,” says the Exit co-founder, explaining that the boost the festival has given to the country’s international reputation is often compared to that made by Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic.

Together with the tennis player, Exit Festival has now set up a foundation to help build nursery schools in Serbia, one example of the festival’s continuation of its social activist roots.

“We know that through a good party and the love of music, you really can engage people in a meaningful way and make a difference”

Another example is Life Stream, the environmental campaign launched by Exit at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in October. “The Life Stream project aims to put the festival industry at the forefront of the fight for life on the planet,” explains Kovačević.

The idea is to inject imagery, text and data relating to environmental issues into live streams from music festivals, to harness the “visibility and influence” they have for the good of the planet.

“We don’t want to show despair only,” says Mešković, “we also want to show there is some hope and to mobilise people to take action – because there is still time.”

The upcoming edition of Exit will serve as a major platform for the project, with both Kovačević and Mešković hoping other festivals will follow suit.

“We know that through a good party and the love of music, you really can engage people in a meaningful way and make a difference.”

Exit 2.0 takes place from 9 to 12 July 2020 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Festivals make green pledge at ADE 2019

A group of 20 festivals from seven different countries have pledged their commitment to increasing sustainability efforts today (Friday 18 October) at ADE Green, the environment-focused sub-conference of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

Representatives from Dutch festivals including Amsterdam Open Air, DGTL, Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands, North Sea Jazz and Into the Great Wide Open, as well as Denmark’s Roskilde, the UK’s Boardmasters, Boomtown and Shambala, Ireland’s Body & Soul, French festival We Love Green, the Berlin edition of Festival Republic’s Lollapalooza festival, and others, signed the Green Deal Festivals Circular onstage with Dutch environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven.

A meeting for the Green Deal was held earlier this year in London, as part of the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI). Tickets for GEI 2020 can be found here.

The pledge will see the participating festivals become completely circular, or sustainable, by 2025.

“This deal has a great value for all involved,” said Roskilde’s Freja Marie Frederiksen, speaking at the event. “We can all learn from each other and improve things much more quickly.”

“Collaboration is the key to the urgently needed change in how we deal with energy, water, food, mobility, plastic and other materials,” added Paul Schurink of Green Events International, organising partner of ADE Green and an initiator of the green deal along with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

“Collaboration is the key to the urgently needed change in how we deal with energy, water, food, mobility, plastic and other materials”.

“With a combined number of over three million festival visitors we can make an enormous impact.”

Topics discussed throughout the day at ADE Green included responsible plastic use, DJ’s air miles and innovative ways to change the industry. A workshop run by sustainability expert Douwe Luijnenburg instructed delegates on how to manage events in a environmentally friendly way.

Elsewhere, green initiatives will again take centre stage later today at the launch of Exit festival’s Life Stream, a project aiming to increase audience awareness around environmental issues.

The team behind the Exit events will broadcast performances from DJs Artbat, Coeus, After Affair, Andrew Meller and DJ Jock live from the Faralda Crane Hotel in Amsterdam from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Environmental imagery and statements will be incorporated into the live stream.

The Life Stream platform will be used throughout Exit Festival’s 20th anniversary event, which takes place from 9 to 12 July 2020 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

More than 9,000 delegates registered for this year’s ADE which kicked off on 16 October and wraps up on Sunday, 20 October.

The industry will once again unite to tackle issues surrounding sustainability at GEI12 in London on Tuesday 3 March in London, on the opening day of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

‘A space of music discovery’: New ADE boss talks first year

The 24th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) will take place under new leadership, as director Mariana Sanchotene looks to boost daytime offerings, incorporate different art forms and explore the crossover between music and technology.

From 16 to 20 October, ADE festival and conference will take over the concert halls, clubs, and theatres of the Dutch capital. More than 2,500 artists and 600 speakers are expected to take part in the event.

“ADE is massive, it really is mind blowing to be in charge,” Sanchotene tells IQ ahead of her first year leading the event. “The planning is going well so far and it is looking like we will have a strong programme this year.”

The festival recently released its second wave of artists, with DJs Avalon Emerson, Peggy Gou and Carl Craig joining previously announced acts Martin Garrix, the Black Madonna, New Order, Carl Cox and Helena Hauff.

A record 400,000 people attended ADE last year, but Sanchotene states the event has no ambition for growing attendance further.

“We are staying with the same number of venues [140] as last year and expect to match attendance,” says the ADE boss, explaining that the city of Amsterdam is “overwhelmed” by visitors as it is.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists”

“The focus is on increasing artistic quality and on growing the day programme in particular to showcase the crossover between electronic music and different cultural forms such as the visual and performing arts,” explains Sanchotene.

The crossover between different musical styles is important for the ADE director too, who believes that people are “more curious” these days and more likely to deviate from what they know.

“My advice to anyone attending ADE is to experiment with new artists. Don’t just go for the usual suspects, really dig into what new talent is on offer,” Sanchotene tells IQ. “ADE is a space of music discovery – I am very much looking forward to seeing how all the acts turn out.”

The 2019 conference will focus on the celebration of 100 years of electronic musical instruments, with exhibits of old equipment and experts speaking about antique gear. The event will also look to the future with an exploration of how technology is shaping the industry, particularly of how augmented reality and gaming are interacting with electronic music.

Health will also be another important topic at the conference, with panel discussions on wellbeing and relaxation spaces to “remind people of the balance” between work, socialising and rest.

Tickets for ADE 2019 are available here, priced at €450 for a five-day festival and conference pass and at €300 for a four-day conference-only pass. Prices go up on Sunday 1 September.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ADE announces France as focus nation

The Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), the world’s leading festival and business conference for electronic music, has appointed France as its main focus country for 2019.

“France has been one of the most important and influential music territories for decades, and in more recent years a really innovative market when it comes to electronic music and its sub-genres, in both the popular genres and more underground sounds such as electro and hip-hop,” states ADE director Mariana Sanchotene.

“On top of that the French technological scene has been a successful breeding ground for music and culture related start-ups. During ADE we aim to showcase the best of the new players as well as pay homage to the rich culture that France has to offer.”

In addition to conference and festival events, the French Electronic Lab will take place at the ADE Guesthouse, De Balie, on 17 October. Major figures of the French electronic scene will meet to celebrate the rebirth of a European house and techno powerhous through a day of workshops, panels, keynotes and presentations.

“During ADE we aim to showcase the best of the new players as well as pay homage to the rich culture that France has to offer”

“It’s now 20 years since the French Touch, so we’ll be presenting the new generation of producers and DJs; the emerging stars, and examine what has changed in the clubs and in the festival and live event scene. We will also outline key contacts for all of those sectors,” says Technopol’s Tommy Vaudecrane, co-organiser of the French Electronic Lab.

“Our aim is to guide visitors towards optimising their business exchanges both in France, and with French companies abroad. Ultimately we hope to provide people with the tools to maximise their import and export activities and to facilitate networking and engagement with new talent.”

ADE will run from 16 to 20 October in Amsterdam. Last year’s event attracted over 2,500 artists and 550 speakers across 200 venues.

More information can be found here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.