“We can help build a more beautiful world that will exist for our children and our children’s children, a world of peace, love, dance and joy. We have the opportunity to build that world together,” motivational speaker and philanthropist Aubrey Marcus said in his speech at the opening of the EXIT Festival.
With this goal in mind, EXIT organised three opening ceremonies this year, with a focus on sending messages of peace and love, designed festival zones where no mobile phones were used, encouraged recycling, decorated the Petrovaradin Fortress with messages emphasizing the importance of mental health and connectivity with people in real life. These are just some of the socially responsible activities of this year’s Festival edition, which more than 200,000 visitors could see and participate in, so that we can change the world for the better, together.
The very beginning of the festival on 6 July was marked as a sign of peace and love, from the cocoa ceremony and the meditative musical performance of the Saraswati Druna Band, to the performance of the mystical Vylane Marcus at the mts Dance Arena in honour of the celebration of female energy, the children’s choir “Vocal Kids” and the elementary school choir ” Stevica Jovanović” from Pančevo, who performed the song “Zemlja” (Country) by the cult group Ekatarina Velika on the Gorki List Main Stage, rounding off the opening by sending a powerful message to humanity from space – the Universe is watching, listening and hoping, and only together can we create a better world.
“Life Is Live“ Campaign
Right before the beginning of this year’s festival, EXIT Foundation started a multi-year campaign aimed at raising awareness about the importance of taking care of the mental health of young people. The first phase of this campaign, called “Life Is Live“, is focused on digital addiction and drawing attention to the alarming proportions it has reached. One of the activities within this campaign were two Phone Free zones at EXIT, with the aim to encourage visitors to give priority to live experience and full presence for a certain period of time. In these zones, they tested their readiness to part from their phones for a while, take a break, talk to other visitors in the zone and get inspired to continue the practice of balanced and moderate phone use in their everyday lives.
Green EXIT and ecological activities
Through the Green EXIT platform, a large recycling campaign was conducted in cooperation with partners Ball Packaging Serbia, Heineken Serbia and Ekostar Pak. This year, according to initial information, three times more packaging was collected, including PET plastic bottles, plastic cups and cans. The company Ball Packaging and the Recan Foundation, in cooperation with the project “Every can counts”, launched a campaign to collect used aluminium packaging in order to recycle it, but also to remind visitors that this is the packaging that can be recycled an unlimited number of times, with minimal losses. There were 20 promoters on site with 10 backpacks, in which was possible to dispose of used beverage cans. The promoters also had digital scanners with which they printed vouchers in order to reward responsible visitors, which contributed to the collection of three times more cans than the last year.
Within the Green EXIT powered by Ball zone, numerous activations were organised for the audience, with an option to win prizes. The famous Pixelata was there to creatively remind the audience of the infinite recyclability of aluminium. The letters “I Love Music” with a digital counter, in which it was possible to store cans, were placed in the most beautiful place on the Fortress, near the Clock tower. The whole action of collecting used aluminium packaging was “spiced up” by Ida Prester, who provided support on the spot and encouraged visitors to join the action.
To dispose of plastic and PET packaging, visitors used three recycling stations, set up in cooperation with Heineken and Ekostar Pak. Two specially designed spheres were highlighted in the eco zone – a planet made of plants, a symbol of nature and a healthy environment, as well as a planet made of plastic packaging, which reminds us that by inadequately disposing of plastic, we endanger our future. With the slogan “Be the recycling superstar“, everyone had the opportunity to be a superstar by properly disposing of their waste at the Festival. Collected vouchers for discarded cans and stamps for discarded plastic packaging enabled visitors to receive a prize – for seven used packaging discarded, they received a Heineken Silver beer as a gift refreshment at one of the five replacement points.
In addition, recycling machines for cans and PET water bottles were installed at the Petrovaradin fortress and in the EXIT camp, and for using them, visitors received prizes such as tickets for EXIT 2024, season tickets for Strand beach, EXIT t-shirts and bandanas, backpacks, bags… This action was carried out jointly by the City of Novi Sad, Sekopak, PUC Čistoća and EXIT Festival.
EXIT and partners would like to thank all visitors who responded to these actions and thus opting for Green EXIT!
EXIT visitors are peaceful travellers!
All visitors to this year’s EXIT held the title of “peaceful traveller”! EXIT and the International Institute for Peace through Tourism signed a Cooperation Agreement right before the festival and continued their joint mission – the promotion of peace. Peace-loving travellers are, above all, grateful for the opportunity to travel and experience the world and are committed to tolerance and respect for others. Everyone who bought tickets online for this year’s edition of EXIT Festival received the principles of the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, which distinguish a peace-loving traveller – with the guiding idea that peace begins with each person.
Messages of support all over the Petrovaradin Fortress!
As last year, messages highlighting the importance of mental health were presented throughout the Petrovaradin Fortress, with the aim of reminding visitors that they are in a place where tolerance, connection, love and peace reign. “Life is Live”, “Compassion will save the world”, “Understanding is an act of love”, “Be gentle to yourself” and “Be considerate of yourself and others”, “Show your brilliance”, “Say something nice to yourself”, “Your feelings matter”, “Connect, that’s where the magic begins”, were some of the messages.
Cooperation Centre “Srce”
Anyone who felt the need for psychological and emotional support during the Festival had the experienced volunteers of the Centre “Srce” (Heart) at their disposal to talk about their feelings and difficulties, whether they were of a family, partner, school or business, and finally existential nature. The stands of Centre “Srce” were set up on several locations – in the EXIT camp, at Foodland and at the OPENS State of EXIT zone of the Festival. As many as 584 interviews were conducted this year, which indicates an extremely large and growing need for young people to be adequately informed and share their difficulties with someone, and to receive psychological and emotional support. Of the total number of visitors who approached the volunteers of the Centre “Srce”, 58.6 percent were men, and 41.4 percent were women.
Performances by the finalists of the HEMI music awards
The finalists of this year’s HEMI music awards were presented on the Visa Fusion stage during the four festival nights – names that promise to soon become big new pop discoveries, including Badfocus from the Czech Republic, Dina Jashari from North Macedonia, Manna from Estonia and K not K from Romania. They also introduced themselves in the framework of the organised Meets & Greets at the HEMI Corner within the OPENS State of EXIT zone. At the same place, two presentations of young domestic entrepreneurs who are part of the HEMI programme for entrepreneurship related to the music industry were made every evening, and the project was presented by Marili Randla, Project manager of Music Estonia, who was a guest at the Festival this year. HEMI Music Awards (HMA) is a programme co-funded by Creative Europe for talented artists who want to develop international careers and whose aim is to reach new markets and new audiences.
MOST for the Balkans music
The Pachamama powered by Rosa stage housed the MOST Corner, a space dedicated to the Balkans music and the important project MOST for the music of the Balkans, which was supported by the Creative Europe Programme. EXIT Foundation, together with Hangvető, Piranha Arts, Songlines and six other partners from Europe, is building (musical) bridges that connect the Balkans and the global music market, with a focus on authentic traditional music of the Balkans, in fusion with other musical genres and subgenres. World Music Balkans (WOMBA), a new music platform of EXIT Foundation, is also part of MOST, which was also presented once again at MOST Corner. The final MOST event has also been announced, which will be held in Vesprem this September, and within this zone visitors could write creative and inspiring answers on the blackboard to the question – “What is the Balkans music for you“, as well as get a temporary tattoo and other symbolic gifts.
OPENS State of EXIT zone
The OPENS State of EXIT zone is one of the most visited locations at the Festival and a kind of “small fair of non-governmental organisations” in the heart of the Fortress. This year, at the OPENS State of EXIT zone, more than 20 civil sector organisations from the entire region presented themselves, which with their programmes drew attention to the importance of mental health, education, environmental protection, healthy lifestyles, improving and perfecting skills, connecting with peers and peers in the neighbouring countries.
This year as well, the now traditional Stars4Kids action of collecting items from performers for humanitarian purposes was realised at EXIT Festival, within which this year’s stars of the Festival joined the list of benefactors.