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EXIT launches Life is Live campaign with UNICEF

Marking European Mental Health Week, European festival association Yourope, has called on its members to support the LIFE IS LIVE campaign, which aims to highlight the importance of in-person interaction for preserving youth mental health.

Serbia’s EXIT Festival, which returns to Novi Sad from 10-14 July, and UNICEF have launched the LIFE IS LIVE campaign to tackle the problem of digital addiction. It is estimated that more than a billion people worldwide suffer from digital addiction and that it now surpasses all other forms of addiction combined, including alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics.

The current estimate of the average time spent in front of mobile, computer, and TV screens amounts to an astounding 20 years of one’s life, while the average mobile phone user touches their device 2,617 times a day.

Giving an advantage to digital identity and spending more time online than in the real world, with the illusion of connection and friendship without real closeness has led to young people being lonelier, more depressed, and more anxious than ever before. The rapid evolution of technology has made it challenging for experts to keep pace. As we enter the era of Web3, the Metaverse, and artificial intelligence, the gravity of the issue will only accelerate.

“Music festivals, as one of the few remaining places of mass socialising in real life, have the responsibility to support their audiences”

“The incredible extent of digital addiction represents one of the biggest challenges that humanity has ever faced,” says EXIT Festival founder and CEO Dušan Kovačević. “Music festivals, as one of the few remaining places of mass socialising in real life, have the responsibility to support their audiences and show them that the true beauty of life can only be found in the real world.”

In a message to European festivals, Yourope adds: “The very essence of music festivals is to bring a genuine, authentic, and powerful human experience at the highest level. Considering the potential and scale of just one major festival, it becomes clear what a significant positive impact it can have on the long-term well-being of hundreds of thousands of individuals and even entire generations.

“We are extremely happy to support such an amazing cause like LIFE IS LIVE. Our long-time members EXIT initiated this wonderful campaign focusing on one of the most important issues of our time. Since digitalisation is playing such a big role in the development of our society today, we need to embrace the life we share with others. In person, for mutual benefit, to get inspired, to create memories, to stay sane!

“Festivals are the best possible environment for these experiences. Which means we are the ones that help especially young people to enhance mental health with real life experiences and magical moments they share with friends and will never forget.”

LIFE IS LIVE is offering two different campaign approaches that European festivals can use. “A true story lasts a lifetime” is the slogan for the initial phase of the campaign. Its goal is to underscore the irreplaceable moments which make life authentic and can only be experienced live. The campaign aims to emphasise to young people that seeking these moments in real life is way more important than creating “perfect” photos for socials.

The second step “Last seen” now points out that nothing can replace the feeling of a mutual experience – in person. And since festivals are the perfect place and opportunity for that, they invite young people to share these experiences.

The concept of being “last seen” online has become one of the primary pieces of information people seek about us on social media and other communication platforms. In this digital age, EXIT and UNICEF’s campaign serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of authentic life experiences. When did we last feel adored and loved? When was the last time someone kissed or hugged us? When did we last dance? The message from EXIT Festival and UNICEF is: let’s stay truly connected, because life is live. They ask: Are we, paradoxically, more connected yet lonelier than ever?

 


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Festivals 2024: EXIT, Rock for People, Bonnaroo

Festival lineup announcements have continued to come thick and fast in Europe and the United States as this summer’s calendar takes shape.

Serbia’s EXIT Festival has unveiled its first 24 acts for its 2024 edition, EXIT Starseeds, which is set for the Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, from 10-14 July.

The lineup is headlined by the Black Eyed Peas, Tom Morello, and Gucci Mane, with other acts to include DJ Carl Cox, Bonobo, KlangKuenstler, Sama’ Abdulhadi, Barry Can’t Swim, Franky Wah, and Mene. In addition, the Tesla Universe Stage will showcase the likes of Kenya Grace, Iniko, Rudimental, John Newman, The Exploited, Dub FX, Willy William, Ian Asher, and Steve Angello, and Joker Out.

Villagers of Ioannina City and Lakeside X are the first names confirmed for Visa Fusion Stage, while the Explosive Stage will feature Coroner and Nemesis.

Held under the slogan “Awakening our Superpowers Together”, EXIT Starseeds also has a special Starseeds Takeover performance on its Tesla Universe Stage reserved for day zero.

Elsewhere, Czechia’s Rock for People, which will be headlined by The Prodigy, The Offspring, Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud, has added to its lineup. The event, which will take place at Park 360, Hradec Králové, from 12-15 June, will also star Sum 41, Avril Lavigne, Dogstar, Bad Omens, Corey Taylor, Enter Shikari, Parkway Drive, Bombay Bicycle Club, Body Count ft. Ice-T, Dogstar, Neck Deep, Thy Art Is Murder, Missio and Royal Republic, among others.

Meanwhile, Craig David, Ne-Yo, DJ Spoony, So Solid Crew and Shola Ama are the first acts unveiled for Ashton Gate Presents BS3. The new multi-artist event in Bristol, UK, will feature ten acts across two stages on 22 June.

In the US, Boston Calling will be held from 24-26 May in Allston, MA, headlined by Ed Sheeran, Tyler Childers and The Killers. The lineup also includes Leon Bridges, Trey Anastasio and Classic TAB, Hozier, Reneé Rapp, Khruangbin, Megan Thee Stallion, Jessie Murph, Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, and Young the Giant.

It will also serve as a celebration of New England’s music scene, featuring over 20 artists from the region including Beach Weather, Kieran Rhodes, Senseless Optimism, Tysk Tysk Task, and Bad Rabbits, who opened the inaugural festival in 2013.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival is scheduled for 13-16 June on the Bonnaroo Farm, 60 miles southeast of Nashville in Manchester, TN, with this year’s highlights including performances from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone,  Pretty Lights, Megan Thee Stallion, Cage The Elephant and a US festival exclusive performance by Fred Again..

Also on the bill: Maggie Rogers, Melanie Martinez, Khruangbin, Cigarettes After Sex, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Diplo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Fisher, Jon Batiste, Dominic Fike, Parcels, Idles, Joey Bada$$, Lizzy McAlpine, T-Pain, Interpol, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Two Friends, Taking Back Sunday, Gary Clark Jr, TV Girl, Thundercat, Ashnikko and Brittany Howard.

Southern California’s electronic music-focused Beyond Wonderland will host acts such as The Chainsmokers, Benny Benassi, Alesso, Madeon, Subtronics, Basscon, Rezz, Wax Motif, Chris Lorenzo, J. Worra, Gareth Emery, Zeds Dead and Afrojack b2b R3hab at NOS Events Center, San Bernardino, on 22-23 March.

And BottleRock Napa Valley has already sold out three-day tickets for its 24-26 May gathering, topped by Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam and Ed Sheeran. It will also feature artists including Queens Of The Stone Age, Megan Thee Stallion, Maná, St Vincent, Nelly, Miike Snow, Bebe Rexha, Kali Uchis, The Kid Laroi, My Morning Jacket, Dominic Fike, Norah Jones, The Offspring, All Time Low and Holly Humberstone.

 


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EXIT Festival chief salutes spirit of independence

EXIT boss Dušan Kovačević has shared the pros and cons of remaining independent in 2023 – and reflected on the festival’s new spin-off event in Montenegro.

Serbia’s best known festival, the 50,000-cap spectacular pulled in 200,000 punters to the Petrovaradin Fortress in Serbia over four days in July to see acts such as The Prodigy, Wu-Tang Clan, Skrillex, Eric Prydz, Alesso, Chase & Status, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike and Nina Kraviz. Its next edition is scheduled for 11-14 July 2024.

EXIT starred in IQ‘s recent feature on ten of Europe’s brightest independent festivals, and Kovačević speaks of the struggles of continuing to go it alone.

“The biggest challenge of remaining independent in 2023 is the increasing costs in the festival industry,” he tells IQ. “Corporate-backed festivals often have substantial financial resources, more marketing power, and established connections that allow them to gain needed funding more easily in the moments of crisis.

“We cannot forget the pandemic’s impact on the industry, and a great shift it made when it comes to consumer expectations. We are often required to adapt rapidly to high demands whilst facing financial challenges that we inherited from the pandemic period.”

“Independence allows us to think and grow beyond the financial reports”

Kovačević adds that rising costs such as artist fees, security measures, and logistical expenses, are a further strain on resources.

“Without the backing of major sponsors or investors, it can be challenging to maintain a sustainable business model and deliver a high-quality experience while keeping ticket prices fair,” he adds.

Nevertheless, Kovačević suggests the hard work is well worth to enable organisers to stay true to spirit of the event.

“Independence allows us to think and grow beyond the financial reports. Excel sheets are not the ultimate God of the festival, creativity and artistic expression is,” he says. “This way we get to cultivate the spirit of the festival that made it so magical in the first place. Freedom is undoubtedly the biggest benefit. We take a lot of pride in retaining artistic freedom.

“One of the most important things to us is growing and nurturing the soul of the festival. Even though we face a lot of competition in the region and the world, remaining independent allows us the freedom to express our vision, provide unforgettable experiences, be a part of the positive change in our community, and society as a whole without having to worry about short-term financial influxes that would limit us significantly.”

EXIT events in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, UAE, Netherlands, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Slovenia were visited by around half a million people in 2022, making it the largest number in the festival’s history.

“Ada Divine Awakening holds a unique place within our rich festival and event portfolio, as it authentically transforms and uplifts people’s lives”

While it was announced in June that EXIT’s Sea Dance spin-off would be leaving Montenegro, the team debuted the Ada Divine Awakening in the country last month on the island of Ada Bojana. Billed as offering “a powerful festival experience that combines life-force awakening retreat, educational workshops, incredible music & art, mindfulness and much more”, artists included Mose, Murray Kyle, Joseph Pepe Danza, Mushina and Tebra.

With a dedicated emphasis on ecology and environmental conservation, Ada Divine Awakening forged a partnership with the “Every Can Counts” project. In addition, organisers, attendees and volunteers came together to collect nearly two tons of waste from almost a kilometre of untamed beach in collaboration with the City of Ulcinj, Ulcinj Riviera, and DOO Komunalne djelatnosti – Ulcinj, along with the Remedies 20t Challenge initiative.

The intimate 500-cap gathering attracted attendees from more than 40 countries and will return from 13-18 September next year. Kovačević reveals plans are already afoot to expand the concept overseas.

“Ada Divine Awakening holds a unique place within our rich festival and event portfolio, as it authentically transforms and uplifts people’s lives,” says Kovačević. “It quickly grew into one of the leading consciousness and intimacy festivals in the world and we will be partnering with like-minded promoters to cast ADA magic through numerous spin-offs worldwide.”

Meanwhile, EXIT’s talent and management agency Echosystem, which was established earlier this year, recently announced that one of its clients, 17-year-old electronic music artist LANNA, has signed to CAA and will be represented by agent Maria May.

“I am very excited to take over supporting LANNA’s career,” says May. “As a strong proponent of supporting young female artists, I believe LANNA has the potential to reach the stars very fast.”

The full list of ten of the best indie gatherings appears in Issue 122 of IQ Magazine.

 


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EXIT’s Sea Dance festival forced to leave Montenegro

Sea Dance will leave Montenegro after the country’s ministry for tourism said it intends to withdraw the funds the festival has been receiving since its inception.

Launched in 2014 by the team behind Serbia’s flagship Exit festival, Sea Dance (cap. 40,000) has so far brought over €60 million to the Montenegrin tourism economy.

Now, the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism says there is no legal way of providing financial assistance Sea Dance Festival due to an EU law that limits state aid.

Subsequently, the Agency for Protection of Competition has ordered the ministry, among other parties, to suspend all cooperation with Sea Dance festival, sealing the fate of the August edition.

“We are forced to react to the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism’s announcement that there is no legal way of providing financial assistance to Sea Dance Festival and point out that this is not true,” reads a statement from EXIT.

“The de minimis limitations that the Ministry mentions in the announcement apply to state aid. However, we once again unequivocally assert that the state’s support for Sea Dance Festival is not aid, but a partnership aimed at the realization of a music festival, with the objective of boosting the local tourism industry and furthering the promotion of the destination.”

EXIT, which last year organised 26 events in 10 countries throughout Europe and the world, has such commercial partnerships with state institutions in numerous countries worldwide, including several EU countries.

“We once again unequivocally assert that the state’s support is not aid, but a partnership aimed at the realization of a festival”

Among these are the City of Umag and the Croatian Tourist Board, which provide substantial support for the Sea Star (cap. 40,000) festival in Croatia, held in Umag last weekend.

The statement from EXIT continues: “Bearing in mind, over the previous nine years, no government agency has made even the slightest comment of this nature and that the procedure was initiated only now, before the upcoming elections — the whole situation points to pre-election political manoeuvres, which the music festival does not want to be involved in or become collateral damage of.”

Organisers say they have already received offers to host this year’s edition in several countries, among them Croatia, Bulgaria, and Turkey.

Sea Dance brought some of the world’s biggest music stars to Montenegro, including The Prodigy, Jamiroquai, David Guetta, Skrillex, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, John Newman, Sean Paul, Robin Schulz, Boris Brejcha, Tale of Us, Sven Väth, Nina Kraviz, Amelie Lens, Maceo Plex, Richie Hawtin, Rudimental, Róisín Murphy, Hurts, Lost Frequencies, Nile Rodgers, Mahmut Orhan, as well as the biggest regional acts.

The government of Montenegro, in 2014, estimated that Sea Dance would bring more than €100 million to Montenegrin tourism by 2025 and that it would “significantly contribute to the improvement of business, not only in the tourism sector but in the overall economy of Montenegro.”

EXIT’s statement concluded: “If even after the festival’s €60 million contribution to Montenegrin tourism, the introduction of the world’s biggest music stars to Montenegro, and the inestimable value of promoting the destination, the government institutions still do not understand that supporting Sea Dance is not state aid but one of the best investments they could make — it is apparent that this festival is not welcome by Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism and that it should not take place in Montenegro this year.”

 


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EXIT optimistic for ’23 after record-breaking year

After a record breaking year with 26 events in 10 countries, EXIT is optimistically walking towards 2023!

After EXIT gave new life to the festival industry in 2021 by being the first major event to happen since the beginning of the pandemic, it was fairly optimistic to hope for a record-breaking year in 2022. However, the year turned out to be even bigger for the Serbian landmark festival.

With eight festivals, a virtual reality showcase at Expo Dubai, partnership with one of the largest metaverse conferences in Europe, 18 various music events, and sold-out NFT collections with world famous superstars, EXIT single handedly became one of the largest independently owned festival organisations in the world.

EXIT events in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, UAE, Netherlands, Turkey, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Slovenia were visited by around half a million people, making it the largest number in the festival’s history. EXIT also grew its trophy cabinet by two international and regional accolades. Shortlists for three European Festival Awards, already won by Exit’s festivals four times in the past, also arrived to close off the year.

EXIT, Sea Dance, Sea Star, Ada Divine Awakening, two editions of No Sleep festival, WOMBA and Get Excited marked a true comeback of the event industry in Balkans with headliners such as Calvin Harris, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Iggy Azalea, Amelie Lens, ARTBAT, Boris Brejcha, Maceo Plex, Nina Kraviz, Honey Dijon, Monolink, Satori and Sepultura, just to name a few.

“Innovation in today’s world is the main parameter for success of any organisation”

Exit’s year was also marked by its entry into the Metaverse and the creation of one of the first NFT collections in the festival world, as well as NFT festival tickets. Well known for being creative and innovative, this venture was fortunate to say the least, as all collections were sold out, and EXIT together with NFT-Tix won Best Innovation at UK Festival Awards. Moreover, EXIT delivered a premium VR festival experience, first presented at EXPO 2020 Dubai, and later in the EXITVERSE zone on EXIT and Sea Dance festivals.

“Innovation in today’s world is the main parameter for success of any organisation. We are proud to continuously expand the boundaries of the festival experience and provide fans with not only top-class entertainment, but also the opportunity for education and personal growth of each individual,” says the founder and CEO of the festival, Dusan Kovacevic.

EXIT was born out of social activism and would not exist without its Foundation work which is as important as the festival itself. After a devastating effect the pandemic had on the world, EXIT Foundation’s imperative in 2022 was to support mental health both of the audience and young people in general, as well as its employees with two mental health specialists being employed by the organisation.

“In 2023, we will continue to prioritise improving the mental health of young people as one of the main challenges of today, and we are also planning the return of our environmental project Life Stream, which we launched in 2020 with the United Nations World Food Program, the largest humanitarian organisation in the world,” adds Kovacevic.

With a strong attitude, and an inventive spirit the festival’s organisation has, it is more than ready to walk into another promising year. Headliners such as The Prodigy, Skrillex, Viagra boys, Camelphat and Keinemusik are already announced for EXIT 2023 with many more to come.

 


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Bilbao, Exit, Primavera and more add to 2023 lineups

Next year’s European festival season is taking shape, with more line-up announcements from Bilbao BBK Live, Exit festival, Super Bock Super Rock and Primavera Sound Porto.

Spain’s Bilbao BBK Live is scheduled to return to Kobetamendi between 6 and 8 July 2023 for a 16th edition, headlined by Arctic Monkeys, Florence + The Machine and The Chemical Brothers.

Phoenix, Fever Ray, Duki, M83, IDLES, Dry Cleaning, The Blaze, Jamie xx, Röyksopp and The Murder Capital are also on the bill.

Bilbao BBK Live promoter The Last Tour is also behind Cala Mijas, Meo Kalorama, Azkena Rock Festival and BIME Live.

In neighbouring Portugal, the promoters of Primavera Sound Porto announced what they describe as “the best lineup in its history” for the festival’s 10th anniversary.

Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Rosalia, Pet Shop Boys, FKA twigs, Halsey, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, Le Tigre and My Morning Jacket top the poster.

the promoters of Primavera Sound Porto announced what they describe as “the best lineup in its history”

They are joined by Isabella Lovestory, The Comet Is Coming, Bad Religion, Baby Keem, Julia Holter, Núria Graham, Sparks, Darkside, NxWorries, Fred again.., Pusha T, Yard Act, and many more.

The festival will take place at Parque Cidade between 7–10 June 2023, with tickets starting from €170.

Elsewhere in the country, Super Bock Super Rock will return to Meco, Lisbon, in July 2023, after three years away.

The 1975, Jame Murphy, Franz Ferdinand, Black Country, New Road, Sampha The Great and L’Impératice will help ring in the 27th edition, slated for 14–16 July at Meco Beach, Sesimbra.

Meanwhile, Serbia’s Exit festival will return to the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia, between 6–9 July 2023, with acts including The Prodigy, Skrillex, Hot Since 82, Camelphat and more.

As reported last week, the Prodigy’s headline set will feature a special laser projection of their late frontman Keith Flint.

 


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Prodigy’s Exit set to feature projection of Keith Flint

The Prodigy’s headline set at Exit festival 2023 will feature a special laser projection of their late frontman Keith Flint.

The English electronic dance act returned to the live stage earlier this year with a tour across the UK, including a trio of gigs at London’s O2 Academy Brixton.

The tour came after frontman Keith Flint, aged 49, was found dead at his home in Essex on 4 March, 2019.

“Many thought, including the band itself, that The Prodigy would stop performing after the tragedy”

The Serbian festival will honour the late frontman with a special laser projection, displayed during the band’s headline set.

“Many thought, including the band itself, that The Prodigy would stop performing after the tragedy, but we knew this wouldn’t be the case,” says EXIT festival’s founder Dušan Kovačević.

“The comeback concerts in London showed that the fire burns stronger in them than ever, and the iconic band’s reunion with its favourite EXIT audience, will surely be the most emotional yet,” he continued.

Exit will return to the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad between 6–9 July 2023, with acts including Skrillex, Hot Since 82, Camelphat and more.

 


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Exit Festival boss reflects on landmark year

Exit festival founder and CEO Dušan Kovačević has looked back on another landmark year for the event and opened up on his plans for the future in a new interview with IQ.

Last year’s 20th anniversary Exit was billed as the first major festival in Europe to take place since the pandemic. And for its 2022 edition, held from 7-11 July, the Serbian institution again made history by welcoming its first homegrown headliner – Belgrade-born singer-songwriter Konstrakta.

“This was a significant moment,” Kovačević tells IQ. “Konstrakta is an absolute phenomenon, using an artistic approach to connect with new generations on various trending lists, overtaking trappers and artists in other popular genres. This makes her highly unique, and we wanted to honour that.

“We are proud not only because she is a local performer but also because she is a female artist. She caused complete enthusiasm and hysteria in the region, Europe, and beyond.”

“Last year was incredibly significant for the festival’s history because we showed that we would not live in a world without public gatherings”

Fans from more than 100 countries attended the 17th century Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad to witness headliners including Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Calvin Harris, alongside acts such as Iggy Azalea, Afrojack, Sepultura, Jax Jones, Disciples and Joel Corry.

“The event went great; as expected, the fortress was packed every night with around 50,000 people daily,” says Kovačević.

“Last year was incredibly significant for the festival’s history because we showed that we would not live in a world without public gatherings. We organised a safe event and became the first major festival to take place since the beginning of the pandemic.

“I thought that it would take a long time to surpass that incredible catharsis and explosion of positive energy when tens of thousands of us finally got together again after two years. However, this year something magical happened, and the festival’s energy surpassed even that of the previous year.”

“This year has brought a series of economic challenges, which is another blow we’ve had to suffer after everything we’ve been through in recent years”

Kovačević singles out the closing night’s festivities in the Dance Arena, which was extended for an hour beyond its allotted time, as “pure magic”.

“People didn’t want to leave when the [last act] left the stage, as the energy was still at a maximum,” he says. “I asked Human Rias, who was with us on stage and also opened the Dance Arena [on the first night], to keep the party going. So the closing of the Dance Arena lasted an hour longer this year.”

While highlighting the biggest hurdles as “increasing costs and all the uncertainties that accompany the current global crisis”, Kovačević sounds an upbeat note on the recovery of the European festival market in general.

“Due to the current crisis in Ukraine and general inflation, this year has brought a series of economic challenges, which is another blow we’ve had to suffer after everything we’ve been through in recent years,” he reflects. “But the pandemic also had its positive side, showing that going to festivals is not only a form of entertainment but also a way of life without which new generations cannot imagine growing up.

“Young people build their identities through festivals and gatherings. Considering the influence of social media, which should be connecting us, but is doing the opposite, festivals truly connect us and have become one of the most important forms of live experiences and socialisation.”

“We will continue to pay special attention to mental health projects”

He continues: “I found inspiration in this year’s mental health messages displayed all over the Petrovaradin fortress and on the screens at the biggest stages. I want our organisation to give this topic even more room next year. We have proven once again that when we are together and united, we can do anything, and nothing can stop our positive intentions.”

Indeed, Kovačević’s thoughts have already raced ahead to 2023, when Exit is slated to return from 6-9 July.

“As every year, we are planning numerous improvements for next year, so we can definitely expect more novelties in areas such as the production level of the Exit Festival, which has been raised to a new level this year with the highest-quality sound systems and over 40 stages and zones,” he says.

“The mental health initiative has been a big part of the festival for years and I can say that we will continue to pay special attention to mental health projects. The promotion of World and Consciousness Music through all musical genres will be a big part of our future and many other things which I am not able to speak of yet.”

Founded as a student movement in the fight for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the region, Exit was first held in 2000 on several stages set up in the University Park in Novi Sad. Moving to the Petrovaradin Fortress the following year, it has gone on to host the likes of Massive Attack, Cypress Hill, The White Stripes, Carl Cox, Wu-Tang Clan, Sex Pistols, Arctic Monkeys, Placebo, Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, Arcade Fire, M. I. A, Jamiroquai, Guns N’ Roses, Duran Duran, Faithless, Motörhead, Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Migos and The Cure.

 


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European live trade bodies stand up for Ukraine

Live event organisations across Europe are taking a stand in condemnation of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

Representatives from the Alliance of Swiss Organisers’ Associations, the German Interest Group Event Management and the Austrian Society for Theatre Technology have linked up to launch the Light for Peace campaign.

From 8pm on Thursday (3 March), venues, company headquarters and other locations will shine in the rainbow colours of peace for two hours, with videos and photos to be shared on social media under the hashtag #lightforpeace2022.

“The network from Switzerland, Germany and Austria not only represents the interests of promoting quality, safety and cooperation in the event industry. As international, diverse, heterogeneous and open-minded as the self-image of the events industry is in its various areas, we act in many of our endeavours with the clear idea of ​​peace in mind,” reads a joint statement from the associations.

“It is a privilege to be able to take a stand and we want to use this to express our solidarity. Solidarity with the people who are victims of political, physical and psychological violence worldwide and with all those who courageously take to the streets against aggressors.”

“The fear and pain experienced by the people of Ukraine is familiar and we mourn for the innocent victims on all sides”

Serbia’s Exit festival has also released an emotive statement across its social media channels.

“You have probably seen this photo of a man draped in Ukrainian flag embracing a woman wearing Russian flag at a concert in Poland,” it says. “This image perfectly describes what Exit has been fighting for since the beginning. It shows the essence of how we should look at each other, not as members of a particular race, nation, religion, sexual, political, or any other orientation, but as human beings, with all of our imperfections, fears, hopes, and dreams.

“Since we also found ourselves bombed back in 1999 by some of the biggest countries in the world, the fear and pain experienced by the people of Ukraine is familiar, and we mourn for the innocent victims on all sides. We also remember and mourn all the victims of the wars fought in ex-Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Yemen and all other bloodsheds worldwide, truly believing that there is no such thing as justified war.

“Just as the hippie movement and the forerunner of modern music festivals, Woodstock, emerged as a reaction to the Vietnam War, Exit was created as part of a movement for freedom and peace in the Balkans. We have vowed to be the generation to stop the bloody cycle of war in the region. That is one of the primary social missions of our festivals in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and other countries.

“Now is the time for the next step – for like-minded people and organisations around the world to unite and forge new relationships among people, bringing true world peace. That is why this new movement must overshadow all countries and governments worldwide. It must outshine all previous structures and lead us to a New Era dreamed of by many generations before.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) has pulled out its music recordings from the Russian Federation and challenged the rest of the Australian music industry to do the same.

“The ARCA crews are family,” says ARCA co-founder Ian Peel. “We celebrate our freedoms and what we’ve fought hard to achieve. Although we in no way know how much real suffering is going on in the Ukraine, we feel for its people and want to make a stand. We roadies don’t cop abuse; we don’t tolerate it on a personal, local or national level.”

 


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Serbia’s Exit festival launches NFT series

Hot on the heels of Coachella joining the non-fungible token revolution, Serbia’s Exit Festival has signalled its entrance into the metaverse with its own line of NFTs.

Exit’s first NFT collection is being created in collaboration with “major music stars of today” and trading platform SolSea on the Solana blockchain. The NFTs will be available in the SolSea virtual store in a few weeks.

Most of the tokens will be made for use in the “multiverse” – an “exciting and innovative 3D web reality”, which the festival is involved in the development of.

“In cooperation with the world’s leading IT companies, we are developing a community that will place artists and creatives at the epicentre of events through various platforms,” it says in a statement. “This will give fans and those about to become fans unprecedented experiences and ways to interact and communicate.

“The festival’s NFT collection will be multidimensional, as it will feature a specially created live experience”

“In line with Exit’s philosophy that live experiences are irreplaceable, the festival’s NFT collection will be multidimensional, as it will feature a specially created live experience in addition to cutting-edge digital art. This will bring with it many exciting surprises relating to the EXIT festival and its music stars, which few have had the opportunity to experience so far.”

Exit is also offering an exclusive limited NFT series as a gift to those who are the first to sign up to its new Discord digital community, launched today, which you can join here.

“These will be distributed only on this occasion and provide owners with exclusive content and other benefits, as well as a special status within Exit’s digital community,” it adds.

Last year’s 20th anniversary edition of Exit, held in a 17th-century fortress in Novi Sad, attracted 42,000 festival-goers from more than 70 countries on the opening day alone. It returns from 7-10 July with artists such as Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

Earlier this week, Coachella announced it was auctioning off 10 lifetime passes to the event as part of an NFT series. The ‘Coachella Keys’ collection grants admission to the 125,000-capacity festival in Indio, California US every year, along with other benefits. The auction begins on Friday, 4 February at 10am Pacific time (7pm CET) and will last for one week.

New York’s Governor’s Ball festival also offered NFTs through a partnership with Coinbase for its 10th anniversary edition in 2021

 


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