Exit Music Festival Novi Sad Reviews
Great Festival in Serbia Apr 10, 2011
So having been bored by UK festivals we have started checking out what the rest of the world has to offer and it doesn't disappoint!
Exit Festival is set in a castle and has lots of stages to wonder through from main stage, dance stage, reggae, silent disco tent etc a weekend pass is super value at £80 if you book early
4 of us stayed in a hotel so no need to get up at 8am from the sun cooking you in your tent:) A great atmosphere with people and by the end of the weekend had made plenty of friends as well - we bumped into a group of 8 people we knew as well
I used http://www.exitconnectuk.com/ who were brilliant at organising things and answering any questions as well.
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Exit Music Festival Feb 17, 2010
Exit Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia has been steadily attracting attention for the last decade and despite arriving knackered, sweaty and with no idea what to expect you can immediately see why.
Exit is set in a fortress which sits high about the Danube River and over the town of Novi Sad. Anyone who arrives in this little town in the beginning weeks of July is confronted with a variety of truly international travelers hyped up by the promise of 4 nights of musical extravaganza and dancing.
Novi Sad- Town
The musical aspects of the festival do not begin until the sun has retired to rest so discovering the town of Novi Sad itself can occupy you during the day. Heading down to one end of the town(Jumping in one of the many taxis or bus links will get you here in 15 mins max depending on where you are staying) and handing over near enough 30 p grants you entrance into a cordoned off area of the Danube River which is ideal for swimming(& def gets rid of the hangovers!).
Restraunts and pubs litter the streets of Novi Sad providing shade and refreshment from the fierce daytime heat. Furthermore, if you happen to arrive a few days early to the festival the many floating clubs along the side of the Danube provide a pretty vicious entry into the world that is Exit Festival.
But where will I stay? The festival does have a campsite and the passes will not be more than £20 however, for those who do not cope well with sleeping in your own sweat and waking up inside a tent which appears to have reached volcanic temperatures, other options are worth exploring. Many of the locals rent out their own flats to festival goers(check on the facebook site) and most come with air conditioning and a clean bed to flop down on. There are also many hotels offering rooms at excitingly cheap prices.
The locals are chatty and enjoy your broken attempts at their language so try and get involved with the taxi drivers and waiters. (Tip: they really like the Scottish as they feel they can relate to her historical relationship to England!) Although polite and friendly it is easy to offend so avoid critical comments about the country and do not mention Serbian relationships to other Balkan states!
Once you have wasted your day lying in the shade, swimming in the river, getting impromptu tattoos or applying aftersun to your sun burn you head towards the festival site in a massive crowd of excited ravers. Entering the site the first time can be a daunting experience as it is dark and busy and I high recommend setting up meeting points throughout the site as it can get fairly hectic at points. However, once you have adapted start exploring! The festival supports somewhere near the region of 20 stages and spans a massive variety of music.
Set behind the impressive main stage is the remarkable dance arena. The dance floor is placed in the moat of the fortress and the space is huge.(Make sure you get a picture from the bridge when it's busy!). Continuing on your exploration following the paths will land you in completely unexpected places. Along the back of the fortress are high and narrow staircases which allow you to traverse the building and discover streets of speakers blasting with House, Trance, Drum & Bass, Dub-step; anything and everything you can have a wee jive to! Set in the middle of this dazzling array of sound are many food and sweet stalls. (I recommend the kebabs but be careful with the sweets. Confusingly expensive compared to everything else we managed to spend a grand total of £26 on one bag of pic n mix!)
The epic views from the walls of the fortress are also worth a visit but steer clear of the edges as different health and safety laws mean that there is no legal obligation to put up barriers and it is a long way down!
Do not panic when you visit the Post Office and they tell you rather ominously that 'Serbia currency is restricted'. This is because the country is very poor and they cannot allow the currency to leave the country. However, most of the surrounding countries will change euros and there are cash machines in Novi Sad and the festival site. Additionally, a lot of the locals will accept the Euro as they can get a good exchange rate for themselves.
Prices for food can vary but will not be more than £5 for a full meal at a local eatery. Most places serve Western Food and there seems to be a preference for Italian so pizza's are available pretty much everywhere. Hotels are between £20-£25 a night during the nights of the festival and renting local accommodation can prove startling cheaper. Alcohol prices vary from shop to shop but for those who camp many of the local people park their cars outside of the campsite and sell a variety of beveridges from ice filled buckets at all times of night and day. Prices here vary depending on your haggling ability. However, even for those ill equip to fight over the price of a litre of vodka will find that they will not pay anymore than £7/8. Be warned of whatever is sold as 'the local drink'. Tt seems to vary from an acrid, Sambuca like substance to pure Ethenol and believe me it is not worth the hangover!
Serbia has a lot of political history and the country itself does at points appear outlandish and sad. Be careful when talking about these things with the locals. They are a very proud race and feel angry about the development of their country over the years.
Furthermore, the local police force battles daily with corruption within its ranks. The majority of the local authorities who you will meet are polite and fair but there are a few to whom this does not apply. Be careful when returning from the festival to the campsite/hotel alone as help may not be at hand. Also, if you choose to indulge in the illegal drug culture which permeates the festival be careful; you will be taken into the cells overnight and there are no promises of fair treatment for those who break the law.
Theft is also a problem which can effect your trip. Festival Veterans will know that this tends to be an issue where there are many tents and intoxicated people. Make sure that your valuables are left in a safe and secure place whenever possible. The campsite offers lockers in which you can place passports, bank cards and anything else that may need protecting. Make sure you remember that you are not exempt from chaos and preempt it!
However, for those silly idiots who do lose passports(myself being one of them!) there is a British Embassy service in the campsite until the last day of the festival and even if you miss this it is easy to report the passport missing to the local police stations. It is difficult to get flights closer than a few days after the festival finishes(Applicable to travelers returning to the UK) so it is easy to jump on a train to Belgrade(the permanent home of the British Embassy) where the staff are helpful and will make sure you get home Ok, usually without missing your flight! Those who have to resort to such measures should expect a certain amount of banter from the officials in the Embassy as every July they have lot of idiots like you to deal with!
The trick is not to panic!
If you don't camp get an apartment. It is hard going living in a campsite on top of a hill in 35 degree heat!
Be careful of your drinks. Drugs are a huge part of the festival and spiking is common.
Valuable should always be somewhere safe and if poss not carried around.
Don't antagonize the police force.
Don't talk politics with the locals.
Don't be an idiot and wear suncream. It gets very hot and if you stay till the last acts are finishing(8/9 am) you will burn.
The red and yellow taxis are generally cheaper and usually official rather than locals using their own cars.
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