Serbia’s EXIT Festival kicks off first day with 42,000 visitors

"The energy created in the fortress when thousands of us were united again, elevated us to the highest possible level and opened a new dimension of the festival experience"

EXIT Festival 2021 Day 1 Highlights
EXIT Festival 2021 Day 1 Highlights

EXIT, a festival based in Novi Sad, is the first major festival in Europe to take place this summer, with gates opening on July 8. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the multiple winner of the ‘Best European Major Festival’ award. However, the organizers are not only looking back but also forward to a bright future. The first night drew a total of 42,000 fans from over 70 countries, demonstrating to the festival industry that it can now take place safely and be a part of our lives in the same way that large sporting events can.

The Serbian event is no stranger to leading the way, having been at the forefront of bringing peace and freedom to Serbia and the Balkans two decades ago, and is used to putting on a festival in challenging conditions. EXIT (and with it the concept of safe major festivals) became a reality last night thanks to the country’s mass vaccination campaign.

Voices from EXIT festival 2021

I believe this is our destiny. 20 years ago, after all the misery that happened in the Balkans during the 90’s, EXIT was a symbol of returning to normal life for the region. And in 2021 EXIT festival is again a sign of normal life after the pandemic, but this time on a global level. The energy created in the fortress when thousands of us were united again, elevated us to the highest possible level and opened a new dimension of the festival experience. I believe that each of us had to rub our eyes to make sure we’re not dreaming. – Dusan Kovacevic, EXIT Founder & CEO

It was an emotional day at the famous Petrovaradin Fortress, as music fans reunited and danced once more to celebrate life and the return to normalcy. The crowd at EXIT is as diverse as they come, with over half of the four-day ticket holders hailing from more than 70 countries.

Reuniting with tens of thousands of fans from all over the world is an emotional occasion. EXIT’s mts Dance Arena is one of the most incredible open-air stages in the world and has such an atmosphere, especially in the early hours of the morning, when the sun is rising over the fortress walls. It is truly magical – Belgian star DJ Charlotte de Witte

As she returned to the fortress after her performance in last year’s EXIT Life Stream, it was her first show in front of a large audience since the pandemic began. The mts Dance Arena, which had a limited capacity of 500 people back then, is now at full capacity.

EXIT 2021 Day 1 summary

DJ Snake (FR) headlined the Main Stage alongside legendary drum and bass artist Roni Size (GB), the first international headliner of EXIT since 2001, performing with MC Dynamite (GB). Hladno Pivo (HR) and Senidah were among the regional artists who warmed up the crowd (SL).

Many in the electronic music world consider the mighty mts Dance Arena to be the best dancefloor on the planet, so it was once again packed with tens of thousands of electronic music fans waiting for the legendary sunrise over the fortress walls, which is truly breathtaking. With headline sets from Charlotte de Witte (BE) and Amelie Lens (BE), as well as local stars Tijana T (RS) and Ilija Djokovic, this year did not disappoint (RS).

On the No Sleep Stage, Eelke Kleijn (NL), Agents of Time (IT), and Patrice Baumel (DE) performed, while the Fusion Stage featured the best local and regional bands, including Fran Palermo (HU), Marko Louis (RS), and HEMI award nominees Sajzerbiterlemon (RS) and Helem Nejse (BA).