EXIT 2011 preview
Having steamed past its decade in style, Exit is now firmly established as one of Europe’s biggest and best-loved festivals. It starts in 3 days and before you go have a read.
Formed in 2000 to celebrate the return of the Yugoslav region to democracy, it’s grown year by year to a four-day trail of hedonistic excess on the banks of the Danube that attracts 600 acts and over 100,000 followers, spanning every genre from rock, hip-hop and pop to the entire spectrum of the electronic music rainbow.
Now in its twelfth year, the political slant may have taken a more background role, but weekend is still a huge part of the local calendar, and the second weekend in July has become a default stop on the European circuit, its unique setting standing it apart from many of its competitors, who nestle in the middle of cities or deep in the countryside. Taking place among the rarefied ramparts of the Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad, in Serbia, the festival takes on a magical air as night falls, blending decades of history with contemporary music across fifteen or more stages.
2011 boasts a line-up that will wet the appetite of any music fan, with headliners as diverse as Canadian superstars Arcade Fire, the reformed and resurgent Pulp, trip-hop legends Portishead, evergreen hat-wearer in extremis Jamiroquai, genre-bending MIA, and Nick Cave’s Grinderman collective.
In fact, there’s something for everyone, at any time, with dustep supergroup Magnetic Man, Mailan duo Amadou and Mariam, Philly fusion female Santigold, and 80s revivalists Big Audio Dynamite, all manning the main stage over the weekend, easing the perennial conundrum of which stage to sacrifice as the night goes on.
Added to this stages that entertain House Of Pain, Hadouken, Femi Kuti and Beirut, alongside a huge electronic music line-up that includes Alexander Robotnik, Underworld, Deadmau5, Tiga, James Zabiela, Groove Armada, Digitalism, Fedde Le Grand, DJ Sneak, Carl Craig and Maya Jane Coles, with a strong combination of local DJs and artists, staying faithful to the roots of the weekend’s origins.
In a festival season that’s ever more crowded, Exit’s success is built on its combination of unrivalled setting, laid-back ethos, obvious value for money, and its stellar and varied programme. And year on year, it attracts many more first-timers to its swelling ranks.
It’s no coincidence that Exit’s star has risen as Europe’s clubbers and music fans head east. The growing popularity of the likes of Croatia, Serbia within the Baltic and Adriatic regions over the past five years has been coupled with claims as the ‘new Ibiza’, but that’s a lazy comparison, as the region has a character and culture all of its own.
Even with the Euro hammering the pound, a festival weekend in Eastern Europe is less of a dent on the wallet, and as horizons are widened beyond the traditional haunts of the White Isle, a host of parties have sprung up across the region. But with its history, Exit was already years old when this trend began to solidify, putting it at the vanguard of this new movement.
Even for a festival veteran like me, the chance to travel further afield beyond the realms of Glastonbury, Lovebox, Sonar, and Fusion, and stay in the comfort of an apartment that for many will be only minutes from the site, (for the braver, and younger, camping is also a bit part of the festival in the Exit Village) get sthe juices flowing. And to do it in such an amazing setting should make the 7 days I’ll spend away from the bustle and noise of the capital memorable for many reasons. The hours are counting off….
Exit takes place from the 7th – 10th July 2011 in Novi Sad in Serbia.
4 day tickets are 89 pounds plus booking fee, with shuttles run between Belgrade and Budapest airports during the festival week.
For all the info, and line-ups, head to the official site, www.eng.exitfest.org.