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Serbia’s EXIT Fest hosts 180,000 in largest EU event since COVID

More than 180,000 fans flocked to Serbia’s EXIT Festival last weekend, marking Europe’s largest music event since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

The four-day event, which became the first major European festival to go ahead this summer, welcomed between 42,000 and 48,000 guests on site per day, with over 50 per cent of the four-day ticket-holders coming from abroad.

The festival’s four-day tickets were sold out almost one week before the event started. It was held from July 8 to 11 and featured more than 20 stages and zones.

EXIT worked closely with the Serbian authorities and health organisations to create a COVID-19 protocol. Those attending the 20th anniversary event were required to either show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test as a condition of entry.

The Safe Events Serbia safety protocol was created to make summer festivals in the Balkan country safe, with early statistics highlighting that there were less than 12 positive cases from approximately 14,000 tests done at the festival’s pre-entry test zone.

In addition, it was reported that there were no delays or major crowds upon entry due to the fast processes of electronic verification of codes on its Digital Green Certificates and antigen tests.

EXIT founder and chief executive Dusan Kovacevic, said: “I knew this year’s event was more than just a festival, it was a movement of people, ready to do whatever it takes to keep human connections at the forefront of our existence.

“Festivals are generally made to promote values worth living for and we are determined to prove that festivals can be organised safely even during a pandemic. That’s why we have worked tirelessly to create a best practice model on how to do it. Besides our own event, we also hope that EXIT will be encouraging to all our international festival colleagues – the ‘Festival Family’ – that it is possible for all of us.

“A festival is only as strong as its fanbase and during the four days we had a gathering of probably the most passionate festival fans in Europe and beyond! The ones that didn’t mind coming despite all uncertainties, cancellations and travel, PCR tests and other obstacles. They felt the same superstrong need we had all this time – a need for us to be together no matter what, united as one by power of music and life.”

The lineup included the likes of David Guetta, Charlotte de Witte, Paul Kalkbrenner, Amelie Lens, Nina Kraviz, Solomun and Sabaton.

Image: Exit Festival / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Edited for size