This past Monday marked the closing of the 23rd edition of Serbia’s EXIT Festival, one of the largest on the continent and taking place annually at the stunning Petrovaradin fortress in Novi Sad. With a DJ-heavy lineup featuring some of the biggest names in electronic music and several exciting first-time performers, EXIT 2023 delivered an unforgettable festival experience during its four-day run time. Keep reading to discover some of my favorite performances from the past weekend!
Many might know Eric Prydz from his early-aughts hit, “Call on Me”, but this Swede has proven time and time again that his legacy in the world of melodic techno extends far beyond his excellent breakthrough single. The DJ delivered Friday night’s audience an unparalleled audiovisual performance depicting a gradually built euphoric narrative that left me profoundly moved.
In a pre-show chat, Zevin and her producer Dvided21 shared their thoughts on the state of Balkan electronic music—we agree that, while its current offerings are strong, there’s no denying that a certain level of artistry and perspective is missing. An hour later, the duo delivers an eclectic and artful performance that combines elements of trap, hyper pop, performance art and Eurodance. If the clamoring of onlookers towards the stage is anything to go on, I imagine Zevin’s EXIT set will be one of those brag-worthy “saw her when…” moments.
Amelie Lens x Nina Kraviz x Indira Pagnotta
In what might have been the most anticipated lineup at EXIT’s MTS Dance Arena this weekend, Amelie Lens, Nina Kraviz and Indira Pagnotta delivered a staggering six hours of back-to-back techno in the early morning hours of Day 1. It was a brilliant choice to group the trio, who have been known to collaborate with each other and whose aggressive spinning styles complement each other perfectly. The trio reunited later that morning for EXIT’S Official After Party.
First-time performers at EXIT, Florida natives Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern (a.k.a. Sofi Tukker) are hot off the release of their latest album Wet Tennis, delivering an energetic hour of house music that featured some of their best-loved hits, like “Summer in New York” and “Jacaré.” Flanked by vogueing dancers, the duo was elated to be at what they called one of their favorite festivals, channeling this energy into a strong set that ended up being a highlight of the whole weekend.
Opening night of EXIT, I caught the second half of a set by Czech producer and DJ badfocus, whose most recent effort “meditating while raving” caught my attention while exploring the festival’s lineup a few days earlier. He played an intelligent and energetic set that inspired movement while also exploring his album’s themes of healing and personal growth. I left feeling contemplative, alert, and especially excited for what’s next to come from this DJ-to-watch.
I ended up at Cici’s set at the NSNS (No Sleep Novi Sad) Stage almost accidentally, having arrived a little too early for partiboi69’s 4 a.m. performance. I didn’t expect to be as taken by this UK-native and Ibiza-based DJ’s set as I was, but her intoxicating stage presence and eclectic acid techno were as re-energizing as it was brilliant.
To keep up to date with all things electronic music, including exclusive coverage of some of the genre’s biggest festivals like EXIT Festival, make sure to check back here at Nexus Radio!