Martin Garrix. Hardwell. Armin Van Buren. Tiesto. Afrojack.
If you’re familiar with all of these names, chances are you’re also a fan of EDM…or at least, been to a club. But did you know that these top DJs in the world are actually from the Netherlands? Well, it shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that EDM and dance festivals are so popular in the country. Which is why it made sense for Amsterdam to host the biggest dance festival in the world – ADE.
Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE)
ADE is not a one-time event nor your typical dance festival. It’s a 5-day event full of conferences, talks, workshops, and of course, parties, held every mid-October in Amsterdam. The universal theme of the event is all about electronic music and its sub-genres. They invite music artists from all over the world to do a talk about their work, trends in the music industry, or just to help them get more exposure. And all throughout the night, there is an abundance of parties, festivals, and dance raves. This year, it had an overwhelming number of more than 1,000 events spread out over almost 200 venues in the city.
ADE By Day
It was my first time to experience ADE. And luckily, I was offered by IAmsterdam Marketing an exclusive pass that would give me access to all of the events, conferences, and festivals this year.
We kickstarted our day at this newest café and bar, Milk, located just beside Melkweg, one of the most popular event and party venues in the center of Amsterdam. It was a good idea to stuff ourselves with some yummy food to help us power through the day [and night ;)]. Then after we checked in to this hipster hotel called Volkshotel (which, I also stayed in overnight!) and did a bit of a tour. They were also hosting events for ADE in their underground bar, which, for them, is their basement where “life happens in the dark”.
While in Volkshotel, we also met some music artists who were working in their studio basements. It was a neat experience getting some exclusive access to the “secret studios” and actually interviewing artists working passionately on their craft. If there’s something common about all artists, is they oftentimes like working in isolation!
Since getting up close with an artist, I was excited to learn more about the music industry. This is where we attended one of ADE’s many conferences and talks in the DeLaMar theatre and other nearby venues. Hundreds of delegates line up and attend one of the talks hosted by the artists, producers, and music professionals themselves. I attended talks about “The Music Industry Landscape”, “The Future of Electronic Music”, and even a Q&A session with one of the biggest music producers in the world, Nile Rodgers. This was so impactful because it helped me appreciate music artists even more and how music continues to evolve throughout the years. In Nile Rodgers’ talk, he shared to us an enlightening story about his struggle to fit in despite his eclectic music tastes and eventually breaking into making music that inspires millions.
“What makes music good, is that it can touch the souls of millions of people” – Nile Rodgers
Art & Museums
Throughout ADE, during the day was also a good time to explore exhibitions, pop-up events, and even museums. I was able to visit 2 museums, one was at the KochxBos Independent Gallery where they had an interesting exhibition called “Life Inside a Pixel” by the famous artist known for his Burning Man-inspired art, Dadara. Another one was at the impressive Eye Film Museum, where we visited the Ryoji Ikeda exhibition. I enjoyed this one immensely because of the minimalistic yet exquisite audiovisual installations with LED 24″ displays, complex projectors, and computer graphics. You would think it’s mostly white noise on a dark backdrop, but they’re actually a stunning display of pixels, data, and astronomical images of the universe. In truth, I’ve never heard of Ryoki Ikeda until that visit, but now I know how he’s one the key figures in the world of electronic music. Thankfully, the Eye will be displaying his work until the 2nd of December this year, and even hosting a live show with Ryoji Ikeda himself!
ADE By Night
Party time! This is the most exciting part of ADE, but also the most overwhelming. Since there are hundreds of parties and festivals happening at the same time during the night, it’s quite impossible to go to most of them – let alone to keep up!
The group and I started planning our nights while pre-gaming and sipping cocktails at the cozy W Hotel Lounge and rooftop bar. It was a perfect setting to catch the sunset while (finally) enjoying some live, warm vibrant house music to jumpstart our ADE shenanigans.
The 3 biggest highlights of my ADE experience (by night) were: Martin Garrix Live, AMF (Amsterdam music festival), and Into The Woods at NDSM. Of course, there were a lot more events I wish I could’ve attended too, but alas, I was paralyzed with too many options 🙂
The point is, in those 5 days and 5 nights, Amsterdam transformed into full-on electro, party, and dance atmosphere. There wasn’t any shortage of where to go because more or less there will be a party happening around the corner of your home. And if I can re-do ADE again, I would say, come more prepared! Do your research ahead of time (not like what I did!) and expect a weekend of no sleep.
If you want to know more about ADE and maybe secure a pass for next year, check out their website here.