Life is Live

EXIT Festival: Building a World of Connection, Compassion, and Well-Being

A woman standing in front of Show Your Shine sign at EXIT Festival 2023
A woman standing in front of Show Your Shine sign at EXIT Festival 2023

“We can help build a more beautiful world for our children and our children’s children. A world of peace, love, dance, and joy. We have the opportunity to build that world together,” motivational speaker and philanthropist Aubrey Marcus said at the EXIT Festival 2023 opening ceremony. A part of creating such a world involves EXIT’s mental health activities, which have had a special place at the Petrovaradin Fortress for years.

One of the activities within the “Life Is Live” campaign at EXIT 2023 was two Phone-free zones at EXIT, with the aim to encourage visitors to give priority to live experience and full presence. In these zones, they tested their readiness to part from their phones for a while, take a break, talk to other visitors in the zone, and get inspired to continue the practice of balanced phone use in their everyday lives.

“Connect, that’s where the magic begins”

As in previous years, messages highlighting the importance of mental health were presented throughout the Petrovaradin Fortress, to remind visitors that they are in a place where tolerance, connection, love, and peace reign.

“Life is Live”, “You are loved!”, “Compassion will save the world”, “Understanding is an act of love”, “You are more than enough”, “Be kind to yourself”, “Show your shine”, “Say something awesome to yourself”, “Your feelings are valid”, “Your presence is the best present”, “Connect, that’s where the magic begins” were some of the messages.

Psychological and emotional support during EXIT

Those in need of psychological and emotional support during the festival had access to experienced volunteers from the “Srce” (“Heart”) Center to talk about their feelings and difficulties, whether they were of a family, partner, school, or existential nature.

The stands of Centre “Srce” were set up in several locations – in the EXIT camp, at Foodland, and at the OPENS State of EXIT zone. Last year, 584 interviews were conducted, highlighting a significant and growing demand among young people for proper information, someone to share their difficulties with, and to receive support. Among the visitors who approached the volunteers of the “Srce” Centre, 58.6 percent were men, and 41.4 percent were women.

These kinds of activities will remain a part of the festival, as it is important for us to remain with our visitors not only in moments of joy and dance but also when things are not easy. Then support arrives in a professional and caring way.

Last year during EXIT, a study by the “TIM Center” from Novi Sad was conducted with nearly 1,400 visitors on various topics, including mental health. A significant finding is that 81% of attendees feel that EXIT has a positive impact on their mental health. The research revealed that, on average, visitors use their phones for 4.6 hours daily. This emphasizes the need to raise awareness about the extent of digital addiction, a cause that EXIT actively continues to address.

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