The European festival outlier in 2020 is Serbia’s EXIT Festival.
As recounted last month, the festival was pulled only to be rescheduled for August at the request of the Serbian Prime Minister.
While we wonder how exactly a festival can go ahead with international visitors this year, EXIT has announced actual acts that will be playing the festival from 13th to 16th August on the festival’s main stage, its dance arena and the No Sleep Novi Sad stage.
They include Amelie Lens, Black Coffee, Nina Kraviz, Paul Kalkbrenner, Boris Brejcha, Tale Of Us, Robin Schulz, Ofenbach and Laibach, Roni Size B2B set with LTJ Bukem feat. EXIT resident MC Dynamite, Denis Sulta, ARTBAT, Dax J, Kobosil, DJ Tennis, Marcel Dettmann and more.
EXIT is also promising the Latino Stage, hip-hop-focused Beats Stage, drum and bass-centered XBass Pit stage, the local and regional DJ stage Urban Bug along with a Trance and Reggae stage will also feature.
Serbia is ranked 54th in the number of Coronavirus cases worldwide with with 12,426 cases and 256 deaths, compared to Ireland ranked at 40 with 25,321 and 1,706 deaths.
And while Serbia is not limiting movement and its borders are open, it says it isn’t doing testing right now, that is not the same for the rest of Europe if people are travelling there. Here’s what the organisers say:
While the organizers prepare the festival in cooperation with the National Health Department of the Government of Serbia. Serbia, like many other European countries, has already reopened its borders with no limits or PCR tests needed anymore, so people from all around Europe will be able to come to the festival. If by any chance there is an epidemic outbreak in some countries in August, visitors coming from that particular country will go through quick PCR tests which will be either completely free or very low priced.
The full FAQ says 20 stages will be open and some places will be closed off and the festival will run at 90% of its planned 55,000 capacity. Sanitary stations, emergency teams and special isolation facilities in case of a confirmed case are mentioned.
There’s no mention of social distancing or the use of masks in the FAQ – it obviously isn’t practical with 50,000 people on site. But is going ahead the right thing to do? What if a COVID-19 superspreader comes in from abroad and infects some of the festival attendees? It only takes one person.
While pretty much every festival in Europe postponed to next year this summer due to caution, EXIT’s plan to go ahead could be seen as either brave or idiotic, depending on how many international visitors come and how it all pans out. If any cases of COVID-19 happen at the festival, there could be a huge backlash for their plans in the future.