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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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