2015 marked the first year EDM Life traveled across the pond to Amsterdam to witness the best combination of dance music business, talks and parties all at the same event. Kicking off on Wednesday October 14th, the event lasted 5 action packed days finally concluding Sunday night the 18th with the last few parties. Having attended multiple industry events including the Winter Music Conference, EDM Biz, International Music Summit and more, we can say that without a doubt, more business related to dance music goes on at this event than any other conference, by far. If you are in the dance music business, this is a can’t miss stop! For the 20th anniversary of ADE, more than 2,200 artists attended as well alongisde over 365,000 festival visitors and 5,500 industry professionals. The total number of events in 2015 reached 1001, with each day filled with the best in music, art and photography exhibitions, film and documentary screenings and tech/gear masterclasses.
Photo Credit: Greg Wasik/EDM Life
While ADE was a new experience for us, being an established annual event for many, Richard Zijlma, director of ADE, commented on how he sees ADE going forward: “Over the last twenty years we have widened the scope of ADE step-by-step and we want to keep developing. This year, for example, we had the first ADE Beats, a hip-hop program, and ADE Sound Lab about the technological evolution of sound. We will always look for ways to keep things fresh and ways to move forward and add to the festival.”
Oneof the more eclectic panels consisted of Seth Troxler, Nicky Romero, Martin Solveg, Cassy, Kölsch and moderator Arash Shirazi of the Bullitt Agency. Troxler, many times somewhat controversial with his comments regarding EDM, was somewhat reserved discussing the panel’s main topic, whether or not an artist should take advantage of his position to advocate for causes. Seth was all for using his name to get the word out on topics that were important to him: “The power of socials is strong, and I use it to push ideas that are important. It’s our job to spread ideas.” Kölsch added: “It’s a conflict because we, as DJ/producers, promote escapism. So is it right for us to promote politics or other issues? It’s right for Seth, because that’s him, but it’s not right for me… I want to promote art and open minds with art. That’s my calling.” Martin Solveg took the conservative route saying: “People follow me for my music and little else, maybe some charity, yes.”
For EDM Life, Wednesday consisted of getting settled after arriving in the afternoon and adjusting to the invariable jet lag. Our hotel, located next to Central Station, was centrally located and just 5 minutes from to the red light district (cough cough). After picking up our media credentials and ADE backpack (very impressed with this bag by the way ADE!) and grabbing dinner, the only plans for this night was to attend James Zabiela at his night at Panama club. The night’s lineup was a bit more techno heavy that one would expect with Zabs as the headliner – Mauro Picotto was on as we enter the venue playing his usual harder Italian techno. James followed with a nice set which was a bit more tech house heavy than some of the other nights we have heard him, but the music was definitely more in tune with the other djs on the bill. Closing out the night for us was Carlo Lio on the same stage bringing the techno heat to finish off the night.
Thursday entailed interviews with Florian Picasso (be on the lookout for this shortly!) and meeting industry friends for dinner and drinks. Walking into the Andaz Hotel was encountering a who’s who of the dance music industry. Just walking around the hotel lobby gave one an opportunity to talk to some of the biggest names in the business, be it djs, promoters, managers, agents, and more.
The night began with a quick pit stop at Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano’s event .The SJ & RM venue was filled with an up-for-it crowd and the duo had several of their dj friends stop by for surprise sets including Sander Van Doorn.
Photo credit: Michiel Ton
The next event of the night was the Diynamic party at ADE thrown by Loveland, located in a business park in the northern area of Amsterdam. This event did not disappoint with a sold out crowd happily dancing along to Adriatique first then Solomun (of course) to close the night off. We did experience this night one of the annoyances of Amsterdam – when leaving clubs at 6am taxi drivers many times will not use the meter – they quote a price and you take it or negotiate or wait for another car with a more acceptable price.
Friday night we began with 2ManyDJs playing the Boys Noize party (again bit of a unexpected booking in our opinion). Having just seen the due in Ibiza last month, we decided to get one more fill of their eclectic mix at the famous Paradiso club, dating back to the 1800s and more recently home to of many of music’s all time greats shows in Amsterdam. Next up was Boys Noize himself with a nice electro set. At that point though we had to leave for the night’s main event, Carl Cox at the Awakenings event at legendary Gashouder venue. After walking what seemed like forever (our taxi dropped us off at the far east side of the park), we entered into a venue which we were already familiar with due to the many photos online, but is still something to see in person. Sort of like a concrete above ground bunker, the circular building was dripping with sweat literally from the humidity. The event is effectively in one large circular room with the relatively minimal yet very effective light and pyro show. For reasons that are unknown to us, the entire floor of the venue was wet, as if it had just rained – somewhat strange to see as if it was an indoor festival! Nicole Moudaber was on when we arrived, showing why she is the queen of techno rocking the place with a set worthy of headliner status.
Photo credit; Greg Wasik/EDM Life
Up next was techno’s favorite headliner, Carl Cox. The man did not disappoint, dropping a techno set that we enjoyed more than just a month prior at his weekly event at Space Ibiza. With pyrotechnics flying through the venue and a crowd eating up every track, for those into techno this night was not to be missed.
Photo credit: Darryl Adelaar
Saturday night was a triple-event night for us, starting off with checking out Steve Bug at Closure. Closure (site of Seth Troxler’s open-to-close the night before) is a proper basement nightclub where you can barely see the person standing next to you – always a good sign for an underground! Then it was off to catch Saeed Younan at Club Up in the middle of the tourist district of Amsterdam. Showing why he spins with Carl Cox each time Coxy has a Vegas show, Younan’s tech house kept the room moving. Then it was off to the last stop of the night, back to where it all started, Panama, to see some good old-fashioned Progressive House with a B2B show with Nick Warren and Hernan Cattaneo. Not the mislabeled progressive house you see on Beatport nowadays but the more hypnotic and melodic sounds associated with Sasha, Digweed, the aforementioned Nick and Hernan and a few select others including US dj Darin Epsilon.
If you want to relive the many events at ADE, Beatport live-streamed and archived more than 60 panels, parties events for viewing here: Beatport ADE videos
Overall, other than some uncooperative weather, we would say that the Amsterdam Dance Event is an event well worth attending if a fan of dance music with an unparalled selection of shows, sessions and art in one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. In addition, if you are in the industry or looking to break into it, with a who’s who of the dance music industry here at one time, its a must stop!
For more information visit the official http://www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl/live/