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Exit Festival’s Counter Culture State

Reported by Joshua [Trackitdown] on June 14, 2012

Dutch lifestyle magazine DJBroadcast have produced a documentary about the history of Serbia’s Exit Festival, tracing the development of the event from its origins as a student protest against president Slobodan Milošević’s politics to its status today as one of Europe’s most recognised alternative festivals.

Exit founder Bojan Bošković is interviewed on the documentary and points out the massive impact it has had on Serbia.

“Over the course of thirteen years, we have generated probably between 200 and 250 million euros for the Serbian economy,” says Bojan, “In comparison, the oil industry of Serbia was sold for 400 million.” ( )

Despite bringing so much foreign currency into the country, the event has remained resolutely tied to its counter-culture origins culminating in Bojan being briefly jailed in 2004 on trumped up corruption charges, just weeks before the festival was due to begin.

Chatting to Skrufff later, Bojan (who was released after two weeks without charge) was impressively sanguine declaring ‘jail was a good life experience for me, all in all.”

“One guy I was locked up with was in charge of smuggling drugs for the area and there were various other serious criminals, though often with those kind of people, although they live outside the law they also follow quite strict codes of behaviour. Strangely enough, business people also follow the same codes; street codes, whatever,” he explained, “It was really OK, I had a lot of support in the cell, people liked me there,” he smiled.

Going on hunger strike for ten days (alleviated by him sneaking ‘a bit of chicken here and there’), he also said he never felt in any danger of physical harm, from either fellow prisoners or guards.

“It was funny because the guys in the cell were like ‘hey, can you get us some job when we’re out, can we do something’ but even the guards were asking if they could be involved in the festival too. 

So then I started thinking ‘this country really has changed- everybody wants to work’,” said Bojan, (Exit Festival 2012 takes place in Novi Sad, Serbia between July 12th and July 15th)  (1999 NATO bombing of Novi Sad: From Wikipedia)

Jonty Skrufff: