World musicians gathered in Serbia’s city of Novi Sad today to begin the country’s seventh “State of Exit” music festival and draw a crowd estimated to reach 150,000, the festival’s largest yet.
The festival was founded in 2000 – long before the March, 2006 death of Slobodan Milosevic who awaited the conclusion of his trial for charges of war crimes – as a protest against the former president’s violent history against people in the region.
Co-founder and general manager Bojan Boskovic recalls the original purpose of the festival as a political protest, and told the BBC that although “we are still using music as a powerful tool,” “we are not running away from the fact that Exit also has a political meaning.”
More than 60 artists and groups will perform on 11 stages through Sunday, the organization’s Web page reports. The site highlights Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, The Cult, The Cardigans, Billy Idol, Pet Shop Boys, Scissor Sisters and Him as the Main Stage performers.