Serbia's music festival EXIT opens
The Finnish "symphonic metal" band Nightwish, NERD and British underground group The Streets on Thursday evening opened Serbia's and Balkan's largest music festival - EXIT.
Aero group Stars from Novi Sad prepared an exciting opening of the festival with jet planes performing acrobatic spectacles. Four Galeb G2s were flying in a synchronized action for 20 minutes just before the Nightwish performance, dpa reported.
Situated in a picturesque 17th century Petrovaradin fortress overlooking the Danube river and city Novi Sad, EXIT will feature talents such as Paul Weller, Manu Chao, Primal Scream, the Hives, Ministry, Deep Dish, Roni Size and Sex Pistols, who will close the festival Sunday night.
More than 600 musical performances, as well as movies and plays will be featured across the 25 festival stages during the four nights of the festival.
"I think this is going to be the best EXIT yet," said Bojan Boskovic, EXIT's manager.
He added that around 50 percent of visitors would arrive from outside Serbia - the organizers say they expect around 250,000 people during the four days.
Although festival usually remains clear of big trouble, security is always tight. Novi Sad police already detained two men with packs of marijuana and ecstasy who were trying to sell the drugs in the camp opened at the foot of the fortress.
The gates of Petrovaradin fortress will be open every day at 1700 and closed at 0300, after which the entrance in the fortress will not be permitted.
Organizers already distributed information posters and handed out site maps to the visitors staying in the camp. Medic teams will be on call throughout the entire festival.
Launched in 2000 as a protest against the rule of the now-dead strongman Slobodan Milosevic, EXIT first drew 20,000 people and the next year's concert in July 2001 was a spectacular success attracting 200,000 fans mostly from the still war-scarred former Yugoslavia.
The festival also quickly gained a following among "real" foreigners - apart from Slovenians, Bosnians, Croats and Macedonians - with Britons and Irish being the most numerous.
EXIT has lured its following by offering an "adventurous" variety of musical genres and directions, be it rock or rap, classical or chill, dance or drum'n'bass or electronic or experimental.
Since the first concerts in 2000, the festival has brought to Serbia Basement Jaxx, Billy Idol, Franz Ferdinand, Fatboy Slim, Morrissey, Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Robert Plant, Snoop Dogg, Scissor Sisters, Underworld, Moloko, Garbage, The Cardigans, The Cult, The Beastie Boys, Slayer, Apocalyptica and many others.
Novi Sad is 80 kilometers north west of Belgrade, on the Budapest-Belgrade highway.