Founded in 2000, EXIT is the biggest music festival in Southeast Europe. The annual four-day summer event takes place in the Petrovaradin Fortress of Novi Sad, Vojvodina, Serbia. Now being one of Europe’s premier music festivals, EXIT began as a political rally for the Serbian youth. In 2007, the Association of the 70 largest festivals in Europe awarded EXIT the “Best European Festival” of the year. During these years, EXIT has hosted a massive list of international headliners, organized concerts, parties, art performances and started environmental initiatives throughout Serbia. EARS had a chat with one of the co-founders of EXIT Festival, Bojan Boskovic.

Hey, who are you and what do you do?

My name is Bojan. I’m one of the co-founders of EXIT Festival but I do a lot of other stuff as well.

What is EXIT?

It’s a festival that started in 1998-1999 as a part of a student movement in Serbia and later built up to be a pretty nice festival.

How did you come to find the festival?

We wanted to do something when we were studying at the university. At that time if you were living in that part of the world you were exposed to a lot of bad stuff from nationalism to wars and conflicts. It was very hard to find a purpose for life and we were very rebellious. We wanted to make a project that would be a new idea, a new vision of this region that would promote things that weren’t not politically acceptable at that time: peace, multiculturalism, things like that.

It took us about seven years from the first concert that we ever organized to organizing a concert with Red Hot Chili Peppers. So seven years from the basement to 80 000 people open field concert. For us that RHCP concert was the point where everything in the music industry was demystified.

EXIT definitely inspired one generation of people in Serbia.

How has EXIT influenced the local area?

We definitely introduced the idea of a festival to our region. I don’t think we influenced enough, because the political situation in the region is still pretty bad. It’s also tied to aesthetics and the understanding of values in the society. So I don’t think we’ve done enough. You can also ask what it would be like without EXIT. And I think it definitely inspired one generation of people. It focused a lot of optimism and enthusiasm and spread good vibes around. So yeah, it did okay more or less [laughing].

Building concepts is important in all parts of the creative industry

What other things are you doing besides EXIT?

At the moment I’m trying to set up a new business for one part of the team that left the EXIT management with me. I was the General Manager of EXIT for about 14 years and I left last year and some of the boys and girls left with me also. It’s not still clear to me what it is that we are going to do actually. But I think we are good at making concepts, which is very important for any kind of a creative business. Not only music, its applicable to most of the things you do in the creative industry. There are two things, you can ether consult with other people in good concepts and how to build them or build the concepts yourself. These are the two paths we are looking at, at the moment. We are consulting and helping other promoters and for example consulting one city in Croatia in how to develop their creative industry.

You just also found a new festival called MAD in Belgrade that was organized for the first time this May. How did you come up with the idea?

Basically we wanted to create a new festival project with an original approach to all of the aspects – from communication to the program and production. People behind MAD festival were a core of EXIT festival’s creative, production and strategic brain for more than 13 years. so we came up with some pretty good solutions.

Are you planning to organize the festival again next year?

Yes, many. Not just this one.

 

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