A genuine star of the worldwide circuit

One thing is definitely true, Serbians are immensely proud of their new found international music focus, as Novi Sad native Lana said to Clash on the opening night, ‘ for the first time ever, we feel like the centre of Europe, this is OUR pride and OUR time’. They simply want us to like them and their creation and come back saying good things.

With this in mind, the guided tour on the way to the festival notably avoided the bleaker looking streets and buildings of Novi Sad in favour of a detour through the local park and across the river’s scenic bridge. The road leading up to the fortress was teaming with techno blaring stalls and locals selling anything from toilet roll to cheap tickets – most will even rent you out their houses.

As particularly hard line security guards growled and ransacked many a bag, a 4 fighter jet fly-over thundered above us, heralding the start of festivities and bringing with it a climax to the sense of anticipation in the crowd who were by now clamouring to get in.
Proceedings started to heat up on the main arena as NERD took to the stage, they got the crowd going but were slightly sullied by rumours of camera man being punched by Pharell, and in the minds of most present were upstaged by The Streets UK urban wit and rapport with the crowd.

Deep down in the belly of this beast of a fortress lies a simply stunning walled pit, nicknamed Helms Deep or Mordor from Lord of The Rings by many. This is the Dance Arena, known to many as the best stage at the event, it looks out over a rising slope up through two walled turrets with a huge grassy verge behind creating an amphitheatre of chaos to greet every act to grace its stage. Last year Fatboy Slim announced it as the best arena he had ever played, and it’s hard to think of a more inspiring (and mental) place to dance at sunrise. Audion built things up with subtle perfection, Sven Vath ( looking more than a little like Anthony Worrell Thomson ) took the sound system and crowd to a whole new level of techno minimalism and NY disco and house legend Francois K set the place alight with a great selection of sunrise classics.

Elsewhere, local heroes Bad Copy rocked the Fusion stage with Aussie electro rockers The Presets, the strangely named Rotting Christ made the Explosive stage erupt and a tired team Clash retired to the Positive Vibrations reggae stage to listen to the UK Terrortone crew soften the blow of a 10am finish on the first night in 4.

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