The 18 stages also featured well-known acts such as Diplo, Atoms for Peace and Bloc Party, alongside a whole host of Serbian acts ranging from rap to punk; but even if you weren’t a fan of the local selection, the atmosphere was electric with lots to discover. One of the ‘stages’ was a bar hidden in the arches of the fortress, where the staff set the bar on fire as you danced along to the DJ mixing his set on an ancient PC:
Needless to say, health and safety wasn’t a top priority at the festival, with loose cobblestones, limited lighting and a Dance Arena built on scaffolding. I managed to sustain an injury climbing up the metal steps to the Arena (that was in no way Rakia related, obviously) and had my first and hopefully last, experience of a Serbian hospital. I had the pleasure of sharing my ambulance ride with another English woman who had her foot run over; “I don’t know how it happened – I was just sitting there with my leg out in the road!”. From the doctor’s tone, I got the feeling he had seen a lot of this over the course of the festival.
Exit is a truly unique festival. The setting and the atmosphere make it unlike any festival I’ve been to before. Even if you’re not a fan of the line up, it’s worth the experience to meet the friendly locals, dance along in the dusty Silent Disco and explore a piece of history that is transformed once a year into Serbia’s biggest party.
Main Photo: Matt McNeill