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Socially responsible activities at EXIT Festival: Focus on positive transformation, mental health, recycling and educating young people

Socially responsible activities at EXIT Festival this year are focused on mental health care, positive transformation, and promotion of healthier and less risky life choices. EXIT’s campaigns are strongly focused on the fight against digital addiction and drug use, as well as on pointing out the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and alcohol, as well as on supporting young people and protecting the environment.

From the “Phone Free” zone as part of the “Life is Live” campaign and the traditional cooperation with the Heart Centre, through recycling stations and performances by phenomenal bands-finalists of the HEMI awards, to the decision that there will be no sale of classic cigarettes – EXIT Festival and the Foundation continue to nurture the spirit of the youth social movement, through which they strive to make the world a better place. From 6 to 9 July, EXIT Universe and Petrovaradin Fortress will be a place where diversity, tolerance, peace, creativity, togetherness, individuality and care for physical and mental health will be celebrated.

EXIT Foundation has just started a several year-long campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of taking care of young people’s mental health. The first phase of this campaign, entitled “Life is Live”, is focused on digital addiction and draws urgent attention to the alarming proportions it has reached. One of the activities within this campaign are the two Phone Free zones at EXIT, with the aim to encourage visitors to prioritise the live experience and full spiritual and bodily presence for a certain period of time. In these zones, they will be able to test their willingness to separate themselves from their phones for a while, take a break, talk to other visitors in the zone and be inspired to continue the practice of balanced and moderate phone use in their everyday lives.

As part of the positive transformation, two 100% Natural High zones will be available at Petrovaradin Fortress, where visitors will be able to enjoy a completely natural cocoa, a drink that restores energy, stimulates hormones of happiness, and has numerous health benefits. Natural High is part of EXIT’s campaign to preserve overall health, which at the same time points out the harmfulness of drug use and represents 100 percent natural ingredients and a completely harmless source of energy.

Anyone who feels the need for psychological and emotional support during the Festival will have stands at their disposal on several locations – in the EXIT camp, at Foodland, but also at the OPENS State of EXIT Zone of the Festival, all in cooperation with the Heart Centre, which has been an ongoing event for the past two decades. Over the past 17 years, the number of conversations that the Heart Centre volunteers have had with EXIT visitors has been progressively increasing – during the four days of the Festival, hundreds of young people have approached them for different reasons. This year, too, visitors will be able to talk with volunteers about their feelings and difficulties and get support.

Just like last year, messages highlighting the importance of mental health will be presented at a mini exhibition throughout the Petrovaradin Fortress, with which EXIT will remind the visitors that they are in a place where tolerance, connection, love, and peace reign. “Compassion will save the world”, “Understanding is an act of love”, “Be gentle to yourself” and “Be considerate to yourself and others” are some of the messages.

All visitors to EXIT Festival are peaceful travellers! EXIT and the Institute for Peace through Tourism have started a cooperation with the aim of promoting peace, so every visitor to this year’s edition of the Festival will bear the title of a “peaceful traveller”. 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 have bought tickets online for this year’s edition of EXIT Festival will receive the principles that characterize a peaceful traveller – with the guiding idea that peace begins within each person.

One of the most important novelties of this edition is that EXIT is the first festival in the region where classic cigarettes will not be sold, but only smokeless alternatives. EXIT, together with its partners, encourages visitors to make healthier or less risky decisions, with a focus on reducing the risk of tobacco smoke. Only alternative products that heat tobacco and electronic cigarettes will be available to visitors. These alternatives do not burn tobacco and emit no smoke, which makes them less toxic. Traditional smoking will not be banned, but EXIT strives to motivate people to say “no” to tobacco smoke or at least reduce the risks of this bad habit.

Environmental and humanitarian activities, support for the music scene of Southeast Europe, the traditional OPENS State of EXIT zone…

The Festival continues to develop its activities through the Green EXIT platform, in cooperation with Heineken, Ball and Ekostar Pak. This year, rewards will be organised for visitors who bring cans and plastic packaging to the recycling stations. Three recycling stations will be set up at the Fortress: near the Academy, the Visa Fusion Stage and the Explosive pit, and Ball Packaging Serbia and Heineken will organise rewards for visitors who bring cans – there will be 10 promoters at the Fortress with backpacks and digital scanners that will print a voucher for how many cans each visitor has handed over. This is the premiere presentation of the digital can collection system at the festival, where the amount collected will be displayed in real time. Collected vouchers will allow visitors to receive a prize – those who dispose of seven used cans will receive Heineken Silver as a gift refreshment. Visitors will also have access to the Green EXIT powered by Ball zone, which will be located near the Visa Fusion Stage, and where they will be able to participate in various activations and win prizes. The “Every Can Counts” programme will traditionally, for the 17th year in a row, be a part of socially responsible activities, with the already famous Pixelata, Lotus and letters with a counter “I Love Music”, into which used cans can be inserted.

Additionally, recycling machines for cans and PET water bottles will be installed at the Petrovaradin Fortress and in the EXIT Camp, and for their use, visitors can receive prizes such as tickets for EXIT 2024, season tickets for Strand, EXIT t-shirts and bandanas, backpacks, bags, umbrellas, mugs … This action is jointly implemented by the City of Novi Sad, Sekopak, Public Utility Company Čistoća and EXIT.

EXIT Foundation will once again implement the “Stars for Kids” action this year, in which it collects items from performers for humanitarian purposes. Some of the notable participants and donors include David Guetta, Skrillex, Motorhead and The Killers, and the stars of this year will join them.

The finalists of this year’s HEMI Music Awards will perform on the Visa Fusion stage – 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. All HEMI project participants will present themselves at the HEMI Corner, at the OPENS State of EXIT zone, every evening from 9:30 p.m. HEMI Music Awards (HMA) is a programme co-funded by Creative Europe for talented artists who want to develop an international career and whose aim is to reach new markets and new audiences.

The MOST Corner will be located within the Pachamama zone, a space dedicated to Balkans music and a reminder of this important project – MOST – The Bridge for the Balkans Music, which was supported by the Creative Europe Program. 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 part of MOST. More information about the new activities of MOST will be premiered right during the Festival.

The OPENS State of EXIT Zone is one of the most frequently 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 will present themselves, and their programmes will draw attention to the importance of mental health, education, environmental protection, healthy lifestyles, improving and perfecting life skills, connecting with peers and peers in the neighbouring countries.