Enter the world of the EXIT Festival in Serbia!

This four-day music fest in July features 1,000 international artistes, top acts, and a variety of genres.

Calvin Harris, Iggy Azalea, James Arthur, Afrojack and hundreds more are part of the artiste lineup at this year’s EXIT festival in Novi Sad, Serbia in July. This high-energy music extravaganza has been around for two decades. Apart from being one of the biggest and most popular in Europe, it is one with high values too, promoting everything from green living to mental health.

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22 years of EXIT and counting… Image: Courtesy EXIT/JOL.

Not surprising, since it was founded in 2000 in the city’s University Park as a student movement, fighting for democracy and freedom in Serbia and the Balkans. After the Yugoslavian general election in 2000, EXIT moved to the Petrovaradin Fortress in 2001 where it has been held ever since.

A storied venue: The Petrovaradin Fortress

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The fortress on a quiet day. Image: Shutterstock/Predrag Mladenovic.

This 17th century fortification has been nicknamed Gibraltar of the Danube since it’s located on the banks of the river Danube. A complex system of underground tunnels beneath it exist to this day. Recently, archaeologists have discovered the remains of an earlier Paleolithic settlement dating from 19,000 to 15,000 BC as well as ramparts that date back to the Early Bronze Age in 3000 BC.

After that, the Romans built their fortress Cusum on this, and then, when King Béla IV of Hungary brought a group of the Order of Cistercian monks from France, they built a monastery called Bélakút here between 1247 and 1252 AD. With a rich history like this, it’s not surprising that the Petrovaradin Fortress was added to Spatial Cultural-Historical Units of Great Importance list of the Republic of Serbia in 1991.  

What to expect at the EXIT Festival this year

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The lineup is impressive. Poster: Courtesy EXIT/JOL.

Backed with its mission to achieve social change through music, EXIT was the first major European festival that took place in 2021, since the beginning of the pandemic. The festival, which frequently tops lists of the best European and international music events, saw a footfall of more than 180,000 visitors over four days last year, augmenting music tourism in Serbia considerably. This year, with the world opening up even more, you can expect the party to be bigger and wilder. See the lineup here.

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Beautiful Belgrade by night. Image: Shutterstock/Nenad Nedomacki.

Where to go: Start in Belgrade, the city that never sleeps, with a lavish launch at one of its biggest summer clubs setting the tone, and then continue in Novi Sad, where EXIT takes place within the gorgeous, historically rich walls of the Fortress. Choose from 40 stages and zones with performances by over 1,000 international artistes, top music acts and a variety of genres. The festival is on daily, from midnight into early morning, and then the party goes on at the beach. A closing bash back in Belgrade leaves you waiting for the next EXIT.   

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A spirited scene. Image: Courtesy EXIT/JOL.

Where to stay: Luxury to budget hotels abound. You can also stay in the tented EXIT Village at Štrand Beach to experience the international vibe.

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Image: Courtesy EXIT/JOL.

How to book: Leading travel company JOL has exclusively partnered with several tourism boards and agencies to facilitate easy access to the Exit Music Festival in Serbia. The travel company has curated an exclusive travel package for discerning Indian travellers, which includes premium hotel accommodation, exploring local food and culture, wine and cheese tasting tour of the Vinarjo Zvonko Bogdan Vineyards and a fine-dine lunch, Mercedes van charters for groups, and two days’ VIP Gold access to the Exit Music Festival and related parties at open-air summer clubs such as Lasta and Money.

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The dance arena at EXIT. Image: Shutterstock/Aleksandar Kamasi.

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