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July 7th 2011
Published: September 16th 2011
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Exit 7-10 July 2011, Serbia Novi Sad

It so happens that I mostly do not manage to write a complete story about a trip during or after it, and when it comes to the task I simply want to do away with it as quickly as possible. It is not that I do not like writing about trips. Let’s get, though, straight to the point. Exit Festival is, without any flattery, the best dance event I ever visited. There is little to relate since my 4 days were passed according to the same simple scheme: party – sleep – translate – eat – party etc.

7 July

While staying in Beograde, I wanted to do some translation in the morning, but failed, slept until the checkout time. I walked to the bus station and bought a ticket to Novi Sad. It took only an hour of drive to get there. I enjoyed looking through the window and musing about miscellaneous things.

When I arrived to Novi Sad I almost at once took a taxi. Later I learned two things – I read in a travel guide that one should not take taxis near the bus station, because prices would be unreasonable, and second – my hostel was so close I could walk there on foot. However, I did not want to waste my time searching – besides, the day was too hot. Then I had some trouble finding the necessary building number – even had to ask a man – but the building I supposed to be the hostel was in fact the hostel. It was a student dormitory, very convenient, clean, and very pleasing. The room was also very good – spacious and with conveniences such as a bathroom and a sink. There was a roommate from Greece.

I had to sit for several hours with the damned translation. It is no good to blame one’s job, the more because I like it. In the evening I went for a walk, to eat and to the Exit Festival, of course. The city looks friendly – when I saw the main square with people enjoying themselves everywhere I even thought nobody of them had any troubles in life, which, certainly, is not correct. But such was the impression. Bliss, pleasure, mental peace, whatever you call it.

My father died last month at the age of

all the pictures were taken in Novi Sad.
65. It is very sad – though I did not know him very well, because my parents divorced as early as 1988... It’s a gloomy digression.

Back to the joys for the living. The most extraordinary thing happened when I approached the fortress (the festival site) and joined the queue for ticket exchange. I lost my ticket. Can you imagine that! It’s simply unbelievable. I had several hard minutes realizing this fact and searching my pockets. Lost – and not to be found. However, if I manage to get another printed copy of the eticket, I will be able to get in, if no bastard finds my lost ticket and uses it. Though the rules stated one had to present his/her passport to get the wristband in exchange of the eticket. I got to the centre very quickly and went to a hotel, the sign of which I saw earlier. The receptionist at once allowed me to check my mailbox on their computer and print the ticket. I was more than happy and took a taxi back to the fortress. I was very anxious lest someone had already exchanged my ticket.

At the fortress, there were crowds of people. It was not easy to find my-most-looked-for dance arena. I had to ask the officials several times, and finally found it. I looked at the people I met on my way but generally paid no attention to anyone. They were so different and from all over the world. I started dancing when Joachim Garraud took the decks. I had a printed list with all the artists and djs I wanted to see and hear. I only visited two arenas, the second being the main one. I heard a couple of tunes by Tiga, then went to the main stage for two songs by Pulp, and, damn it, lost almost 40 minutes in vain waiting for the Magnetic Man. It’s an interesting thing to note that almost all dance artists at Exit have appeared at the world-famous BBC Essential Mix radio show – that’s the definitive sign of quality music. I first heard Magnetic Man and almost all the other artists there.

When Deadmaus played many people put on the mouse masks and so did I. Then came James Zabiela, and the morning. I went home by bus, slept, translated, and ate pizza in the day. I enjoyed the city immensely; I wish I had my own small apartment there. The weather was exceptional – too hot for me, that’s why I did not decide to go to the city beach.

8 July

Sleep is an issue until you are accustomed. The second day (night, to be exact) brought as many happy moments as the first one. I heard some of the Editors, then MIA – this project is definitely one of my ‘discoveries’ of the year, and Underworld – the whole area was crowded with people, there was no room to swing a cat in. Also Carl Craig, Marco Carola. There was lots of beer. I cannot imagine how people can drink alcoholic drinks and dance after that.

I had very sweet pancakes in the café. It was extremely hot during the day. Let's sleep and get ready for the next day.

9 July

On the third day, I listened to Santigold and Jamiroquai, only a couple of songs. And I had the energetic four hours of dancing with Fedde le Grand and Groove Armada. I was taking many photos of people. The atmosphere was very lively. The people were happy. Oh, what’s the use of writing all this – no words can compare to the personal experience.

I went to the bus station and bought a ticket to Beograde in advance. After the next party night I would go to Beograde and fly back to Russia.

10 July

Portishead was another interesting musical discovery for me, though their first songs which I listened to seemed a bit sad. But the style was previously unheard by me.

When I came to the dance arena I fell asleep and slept by the fortress wall. I listened to Digitalism, and then came the crazy Steve Aoki and I danced during his whole set.

The culminating point in the musical lineup of Exit Festival for me was Paul Kalkbrenner. I was amazed by his tunes – they so perfectly matched the atmosphere of the fortress, and were so unlike any other tunes I’ve heard. That was the best act at the festival for me.

I express my warmest and heartiest thanks and best wishes to the organizers of Exit festival. See you next year.

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