Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen, Prodigy, Madness, Grandmaster Flash, Silent Disco, Carl Cox, Casper and Roscoe and so much boom boom dance music
Cheers from İstanbul! Life....as always....is wonderful. A couple spares minutes for an update so here is Exıt Festıval! No photos yet but we will go back and add some later....in the meantime, check out Latif and Paul's photo links from the last update.
After the quick paced travel of Western Europe, we had finally reached our destination and the purpose of this trip. A Balkan Adventure starting with the former Yugoslavian Grand Empire. First up on the itinerary, Serbia, the bullies of the bunch. We picked up Tannis (with her new temporary passport after an overnight 22hr bus-ride from Amsterdam) on the morning of the 8th in Vienna, and hopped on the highway straight to Novi Sad. Our crew was 8 at this point (Ben, Marcus, Ren, Adam, Paul, Tannis and our two new crew Latif and Jalil). We left very early so had a lot time to spare and took our time to get there. Crossing the border was fun, as our crew unloaded and pushed the van through. We have been universally appreciated everywhere we have gone and authorities consistently laugh at us rather than question us. Going into Serbia we were met with cheers and applause, and the border crossing guards found us genuinally hilarious. The highway was uneventful, and by dinnertime we found ourselves in Novi-Sad, Serbia. A year-round fairly quiet town, the city explodes with activity each year for Exit Festival, and there were younguns meandering the streets everywhere; we had found the party.
There were many thıngs to be done, buying tickets, getting Paul his press pass, taking out a dollop of Serbian dınars to whether the storm, stocking up on a dozen boxes of 1 euro Serbian wine, etc. etc. After popping into town and dancing with all this responsibility it was time to head into the festival. Exit Festival was celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and was incredibly good time. From Wikipedia: "Held in the picturesque setting of an eighteenth century fortress by the Danube, the festival quickly grew in stature and reputation. From its grass roots political beginnings, over to occasional problems with financing, and ending with wide praise it's lately receiving, EXIT tries to stick to its initial mission of providing relevant entertainment to Serbian youth while also bringing pertinent social topics to the forefront.". Blah blah blah. The only social topic we were confronted with was the prevalence of youth alcoholism.
We camped out at the festival campground which housed thousands of drunken young Brıts and was a really rowdy time. The festival itself was about 20 minutes walk from the camp, so each day we would head to the beach of the Danube and soak up the rays for hours on end and then head back to camp, slurp some cold and/or warm jars of beer and head in for a night of adventure. As with Fusion Festival there is simply too many stories to recount in a blog post, with days on end spent roaming and dancing and meeting so many wonderful people. Our group stayed in the Hajji, on her roof, and in one tent and was surrounded by some hilarious young drunken Brıts (İ will emphasıze this population only one more time). In the morning it was so friggen hot we would awake in sweat and cab to the beach as soon as possible. The beach was a lot of fun everyday, playing ping pong, swimmıng and lounging in the sun.
Comparing this festival with Fusion, it was very different. At Fusion the festival and camping were a single organism, which made coming and going a breeze, while Exit the festival was staged inside the massive fortress and camping a short jaunt away. Exit was also a lot more mainstream, with the general populace being normal drunken younger Brits (in the campsite at least) while Fusion was more mature and fringe-hıppıe vegans. The setting at Exit was something to behold, with all the stages being scattered through a massive fortress which was really epic. We also knew a lot more of the bands (at Fusion we didnt know any....) so got to see some cool shows. İt was also VERY nice to have flowing water near the camp as Fusion the hot heat and lack of daily hygiene definately added up. İt was very interesting to have another festival to compare, apples and different types of apples.
The group tried to stay together as much as possible but this proves to be VERY difficult when washing around in a crowd of 20 to 45,000 people). Arctic Monkeys were really cool to see, as well as The Prodıgy which were really wild. One highlight was certainly the Silent Disco stage, where everyone is given a headset upon entering the stage and all the music is played in the earphones rather than out of speakers. İf you take your headset off you are in a massive dancing crowd of silent people, wıth some singing along and everyone moving to the same beat. İt's really cool. The festival had a strong emphasis on electronic music as well, but it was tucked away mostly in a massive Dance Stage at the back of the fortress. A couple of nights we would scurry there at 2 or 3am and dance until the blazing sun roze over the crowd. Unforgettable experiences. Some other artists whıch pop to mind are Lily Allen (talented and hot), Grandmaster Flash (an old hack), Moby (surprisingly rocking) and a couple Swedish Death Metal acts (only Adam frequented these, and he was very happy).
After 4 days of squalor we packed up our tents and said goodbye to our party friends. The crew set off south to begin its Balkan exporation. Next stop, Belgrade.....