EXIT 06 WRITE UP
The Exit Festival has evolved way beyond its humble beginnings as a student initiated project and is now one of the biggest and well known festivals in Eastern Europe. Each year it gets bigger and better with over 20 stages encompassing everything from rock, reggae, dance, Latin, classical, chillout and world music.
The festival takes place in the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, which is a venue like no other you will ever have experienced. It offers a magical setting for this social and cultural phenomena that is not only about music, but a powerful symbol of unity and freedom that attracts festival goers from all over the world.
The opening day of the festival saw The Cardigans take to the stage under blue skies and sunshine with a finale of fireworks to mark the opening of the festival. Then it was the turn of headliners Franz Ferdinand, who played hit after hit to an approving crowd. Their set seemed to go on for longer than most acts which was just as well, as no one wanted them to end. Over in the dance arena M.A.N.D.Y were getting things warmed up nicely, with Layo & Bushwacka taking things up a gear during sunrise ready for the much anticipated Dave Clarke who said: “The setting was amazing with the sun coming up and the sound system was intense. I am so happy that I could finally be a part of this…’”
The with opening night being so full on, it was hard to believe that there were 3 more nights to come. Friday night saw Dizzee Rascal make his first appearance in Serbia followed by the eagerly awaited Morrisey. He was a hard act to follow but Princess Superstar and Alexandre technique got the party started with her DJ’s are not rockstars show. Following that was a special unannounced guest which turned out to be Goldie. Meanwhile in the dance arena the heavyweights of the progressive scene were out in force with James Holden kicking things off, followed by Nick Warren, Hernan Catteneo and Steve Lawler. James Zabiela wrapped things up with a little help from Goldie who had enjoyed his set so much he turned up at the dance arena for an impromptu performance. It was an unusual pairing, but Goldie took to the mic while James performed his technical wizardry on the decks. Said James: “Exit festival was definitely the highlight of my year so far. It was truly amazing. The vibe was so positive from the people and having Goldie jump on the microphone is something I'll never forget. It was a gig that I could've only dreamt about and I'll still be buzzing from it for years to come.”
With the sun still shining, it was time to rock on the main stage with HIM and Billy Idol. The Serbs like their rock and they were not disappointed with Billy Idol putting on an amazing show and with the crowd singing along to every song. The dance area was also rocking, but to the sounds of Switch, Junior Jack & Kid Crème and David Guetta who had the crowd jumping from start to finish and commented; “The place was unbelievable – a rave up a mountain. The energy of the people was fantastic – the crowd were so enthusiastic. I had SUCH a great time.” Steve Angello & Sebastian Ingrosso were last but by no means least, as they played back to back keeping the crowds hands in the air till 8am. There was also a surprise guest dancer on the stage with Paddy from the Scissor Sisters proving he is wasted on drums as he has some killer dance moves!
It was hard to believe it was the last day, but what a last day it was going to be with the Pet Shops Boys and Scissor Sisters to look forward to. Chicks on Speed kicked things off with Pet Shop Boys taking to the stage with an amazing audio visual show with stunning projections and dancers. The Scissor Sisters finished things off with an entertaining and energetic performance. Ana Matronic had even learned to speak some Serbian phrases to say to the crowd which was very impressive. She commented: “we had no idea what to expect and it was an amazing show, the crowd was fantastic and we can't wait to come back.” At the end of their set they announced it was Neil Tennents birthday and sang happy birthday with the crowd joining in.
Over in the Dance arena the heavy weights in techno were out in force with Loco Dice kicking things off for legends Derrick May and Jeff Mills. During Derricks set The Pet Shop Boys and Jake from the Scissor Sisters were enjoying the atmosphere and having a good time. Technasia performed a live set followed by local Umek and Marco Nastic. The Dance arena really does have something about it as it is an amazing open space and everyone where plays there, is blown away by the experience.
The Exit festival is definitely and event not to be missed and you can’t help but feel part of something special at Exit as it is more than just a festival, but an event that promotes positive energy, tolerance and one that brings the youth and elderly alike from all sides of the war-torn region, together.
Words: Nikki Wright