EXIT Festival review: Celebrating 50 years of hip-hop from dusk until dawn | Music | Entertainment

EXIT Festival, which was held between July 6 and July 9 in Serbia, united more than 200,000 music lovers this year thanks to its headliners Prodigy, Wu-Tang Clan and Skrillex as well as its plethora of homegrown acts. 

The long-running event, based in Novi Sad’s Petrovaradin Fortress which was completed in 1780, boasts an impressive 40 stages, with each offering something different from the other.

The iconic Gorki List Main Stage is in the heart of the historic venue, while the vivacious Dance Arena is located at the bottom of the iconic fortress by the bank of the Danube River.

EXIT Festival kicked off in style on Thursday evening, with a memorable performance from Swedish punk band Viagra Boys ahead of Prodigy’s crowd-drawing set which was followed by Chase & Status.

Around 44,000 festival goers gathered together at the main stage to watch the Prodigy perform electro-punk hits such as Omen and We Live Forever, with the occasional mosh pit breaking out. 

Serbia appears to hold a special place in the British band’s heart as they first tried out performing the song Breathe live in Belgrade in 1995 when the late Keith Flint fronted the group ahead of his untimely death. 

More than 50,000 fans went through the gates of the fortress for the second night of the festival with Grammy record-holder Skrillex dominating the stage as well as symphonic metal band Epica who opened up to Express.co.uk about the event.

Lead singer Simone Simons, 38, shared ahead of the performance: « We have a couple of moments in our set where we ask the crowd to collaborate with us, to interact with us, so it’s going to be awesome.

« I can’t wait, I have no idea how many people are going to be there. Fingers crossed it’s a lot. »

Later on, way after sunset, the colossal Dance Arena hosted the long-awaited performance of Swedish DJ Eric Prydz to a packed crowd of ticket holders until the early hours.

The celebrations continued on Saturday with 32-year-old DJ Alesso calling it an « honour » to headline the evening as the music event was in full swing.

That same electric night, 17-year-old DJ Lanna made history as the youngest-ever artist to grace the stage at EXIT Festival.

And what better way to mark 50 years of hip-hop than by having a live set by the legendary New York City collective Wu-Tang Clan on Sunday’s closing night?

The atmosphere was electric as band members commanded the massive crowd’s attention throughout their late-night set after fellow American hardcore hip-hop veterans Onyx got the audience going. 

« We’re performing after the legendary Wu-Tang Clan. Can it get more exciting? » said Onyx’s Dimitri Vegas at the time. 

A breathtaking closing set was staged at the electronic music temple by the Keinemusik collective ahead of the festival founder, Dušan Kovačević, welcoming the final acts at the Dance Arena with his son and father in a « magical moment ». 

For more details about this year’s and next year’s EXIT Festival visit, www.exitfest.org/en. 

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