One of the most important European Musical Festivals, which gathers fans from all over the world, satisfying all musical preferences is the EXIT FESTIVAL, which after the general elections in neighboring Yugoslavia in 2000, moved to the Petrovaradin Fortress in 2001. Nevertheless social responsibility remains a key aspect of the festival’s activities.
From July 4 to July 7, 2019, therefore, we are invited to enjoy this year as well, that is what is happening on the World Music Stage!Athens Calling G.R, like every year, in the framework of his Tribute to the European Summer Music Festivals, had the opportunity to chat an interview with PR.Manager of EXIT FESTIVAL Bojana Kozomora!
ATHENS CALLING : Hello Bojana ! Hi EXIT FESTIVAL! I’m really glad to chat with you!
BOJANA KOZOMORA: Hi guys! Greetings from Novi Sad!
ATHENS CALLING: 20 years EXIT FESTIVAL and what was the cause or excuse to get decided to create this great festival in Serbia?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: EXIT is totally unique in the festival world as it started as a student movement fighting for peace and democracy in Serbia and the Balkans. Zero festival editions from the year 2000, which featured concerts, theater plays, movies, exhibitions, lasted for three months and had one specific goal – to get young people to vote. It was a movement that really made changes at that time, so we wanted to use this energy to make something big, that made a difference. That is how EXIT festival at Petrovaradin Fortress was born in 2001.
ATHENS CALLING: Really, how difficult is it, to organize a festival in those days with all about the economic crisis … I mean difficult or easy!
BOJANA KOZOMORA: Organizing a festival is always challenging. Back in the days, we were the first music festival in this part of Europe, so we had to learn everything about the festival industry and event management from the scratch. Throughout the years, we have faced the political repression, economic crisis, as well as the increasing festival competition, but managed to survive and stay strong to this day.
ATHENS CALLING: And about the music .Did you choose the groups based on what occasion, commercial or quality?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: We are a multi-genre festival, so we try to bring a wide range of artists, depending on the stage. Main Stage is reserved for the hit-makers, iconic bands, artists important for the music history and artists highly in-demand. Dance Arena is for the best DJs in the world, while No Sleep Novi Sad stage is for the avant-guard electronic selection. Fusion mixes top regional acts with world music and newcomers, while Explosive is reserved for hardcore, punk, metal and rock bands. We also have new stage introducing regional trap/rap/hip-hop scene and many more stages at the fortress. We choose the artists based on the surveys we do with EXIT fans, cost, availability, fan base in Serbia, neighbouring countries and other markets. It is important that most of the small fan groups don’t feel betrayed or left out.
ATHENS CALLING: How many people are they working for EXIT FESTIVAL?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: Since we organize a total of six festivals in five different countries during the year, with numerous side projects, outsource projects, campaigns connected to social activism, we are one busy organization! We have a team of around 60 people and as the festival approaches, more and more people are engaged until we reach around 2.000 people who work at the festival when it opens its gates.
ATHENS CALLING: Tell me about the visitors-viewers, how many are they and about what ages in EXIT FESTIVAL?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: We have an average of 40-50K visitors daily. Most of them are students, and the average age of our festival goer is 25 years. We have a huge base of international visitors, from more than 70 countries and 10% of festival-goers come from non-European countries, such as USA, New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Chile etc.
ATHENS CALLING: Except The Cure – Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike – Soffi Tukker How many more artists will you include this year ? Can you tell us another name?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: We have just recently announced a dozen more guitar acts, including one of the most impressive young generation rock bands, Greta Van Fleet, the legendary frontman of Pantera Phil Anselmo, metal icon Tarja Turunen, ex-singer of the legendary Nordic band Nightwish, Norwegian metalheads Arcuturus, pioneers of the Swedish metal scene Entombed A.D, ska kings The Selecter, famed British punks Peter and the Test Tube Babies, and Californian hardcore veterans Total Chaos. We have just started announcing the line -up, and there will be many more surprises, hot new artists, well-known hitmakers, biggest DJ stars in the world and best local and regional artists.
ATHENS CALLING: And you … what genre of music do you like to hear ?
BOJANA KOZOMORA : I have always been a sucker for indie-pop and indie-rock music, lo-fi, a bit of twee, punk, but I also love some rap, trap, hip-hop artists. A bit of everything basically, which is natural when you work in the music industry I think.
ATHENS CALLING: And your favorite musicians, tell us please your favorite world musicians?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: This one’s tough – there is so many great bands in the world! From the iconic artists I love Belle&Sebastian, Gang of Four, Newtown Neurotics, Buzzcocks, I listen to LCD Soundsystem, Arctic Monkeys, new guitar artists: The Vaccines, The Idles, Priests, The National. But I also like popular artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, The Weeknd and some smaller acts such as Mallrat or Alvvays…
ATHENS CALLING: What other festivals in Europe are more close to your preferences and tell us if you know any festival in Greece?
BOJANA KOZOMORA : I have always loved Hungarian Sziget festival, as well as Finnish Flow festival. I would love to visit Primavera but I am always busy in June, so I never get the chance. I have never been to any festival in Greece, you should invite me!
ATHENS CALLING: Your work, I believe that it is very hard, in that case really how do you balance your work with other obligations – mate?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: It is challenging, no working hours, night work, a lot of working weekends, but I try to balance it by spending quality time with my family whenever we are together. I believe it is crucial not to spend time on your smartphone or computer when I am with my kids or my husband and try not to talk about work. It is also important to have vacations, city breaks and have some rest away from everything.
ATHENS CALLING: What are you doing when you have free time? I mean have you any hobbies?
BOJANA KOZOMORA: I read, play board games, hang out with friends and workout a lot.
ATHENS CALLING: Let’s go back to talk about EXIT FESTIVAL 2019, would you like to tell us something else about it.
BOJANA KOZOMORA: Yeah, EXIT is really an entire music universe and very special too – the festival held in the medieval fortress is an experience very different from anything you have seen in your life. It’s just got soul. You have so many different stages and so many different genres and grooves to experience there and the party lasts until 9AM in the morning, and even longer for hard-core ravers. EXIT 2019 will present some great hitmakers as well as well known bands and DJs, so you should keep an eye on it in the next couple of months. Novi Sad, where the festival is held, has been awarded The European Capital of Culture 2021, so the city changes fast and is more than welcoming for young people and tourist lovers. It is a great blend of oriental and Austrian influences and this historical mix gives it a special vibe.
ATHENS CALLING: Do You have please any message for the Greek audience ,to the Greek EXIT FESTIVAL 2019 visitors ?
BOJANA KOZOMORA : Yes, avoid big stages. Try to find hidden gems at the fortress, they are hidden everywhere. The best parties are, in my opinion, at the Cockta Beats&Bass stage, a zone most people are unaware of. Try out Explosive, one of my favourite stages, featuring punk, hard core, metal acts. Also, you need to experience sunrise on the mts Dance Arena, it’s a festival’s brand and it truly is out of this world!
ATHENS CALLING: Many thanks for the interview Bojana and hope, that I will meet you this Summer , with Athens Calling Team , at your Great EXIT FESTIVAL 2019 .
*You can see more info about EXIT FESTIVAL 2019 https://www.exitfest.org/en/