Work Hard, Play Hard at Amsterdam Dance Event
While most parties are known for killing brain cells, Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) feeds the mind and keeps 350,000 party people bouncing around the great city of Amsterdam for five days and nights. MiLLENNiAL was privileged enough to explore the roots of this starry-eyed spectacle with I AMSTERDAM as we set sail among the narrow canals and cobblestone alleys that consumed ADE.
An initiative of Buma, ADE has developed into the world’s largest club-based festival over the last 20 years. Each October, Amsterdam transforms into the Mecca of electronic music. The festival features an extensive night program and offers music lovers a wide range of daytime activities like workshops, masterclasses and art exhibitions. Feeling like children in the ADE candy store, attendees were overwhelmed with entertainment options as more than 2,000 artists played at over 340 events across 100 venues.
Our sleepless journey of working and playing hard at #ADE15 was well worth the lack of Zs as we toured the famous sinking city and discovered what makes Amsterdam the perfect destination for a European getaway. The festival, it turns out, was just the cherry on top!
The Big Debate with Dave Clarke & friends
Before the real madness started, ADE organized an opening debate at De Brakke Grond, a staple of culture in Amsterdam. Moderator Dave Clarke – wearing a classy tie – guided the audience and his panel of industry legends through the world of electronic music. The panel featured: Liz Miller (Beatport U.S.), Ben Turner (Graphite Media, G.B), Sjoerd Wynia (Celebrate Safe, NL), Paul Oakenfold (GB), Dan Cole (Blueprint Media, GB) and Olga Heijns (Unmanageable Artists).
Subjects varied from the local drug policy (“Amsterdam’s open mind is an example to the world”) to the lack of female performers in the scene (“We need more female friendly DJ gear”). One of Dave Clarke’s wake up calls that made everyone smirk was: “A lot of EDM djs are Instagram models instead of good performers.” Soon after the opening discussion, our tour took us to an event at Hotel Droog. The hotel felt more like an expensive gallery than a place to hang your hat, mostly because it was created by conceptual design firm, Droog. If you like art, this is the place to see!
Cruising through the canals with Beatport
Beatport transformed a typical Amsterdam canal boat into an epic party cruise. Captains of the ship Job Jobse & Elias Mazian performed live for 80 lucky souls on the boat, amongst thousands of viewers from all over the world via the Beatport Livestream.
If you’ve never heard about Job & Elias, look them up. These former residents of Club Trouw (RIP) know how to steer every party in the right direction. Nothing quite compares to learning about the history of this city from a party canal boat!
Mystical Howling at 18th century church Paradiso
Considered a holy place during the Dutch Golden Age, Paradiso was converted into a concert hall back in 1968. Since then, the church has turned into Amsterdam’s most popular venue, having been renamed the “Pop Temple”. And for good reason! The concert hall has played host to legendary talent including Pink Floyd.
This prestigious venue is where we discovered Frank Wiedeman (Âme) and Ry Cuming (RY X) who warmed up Amsterdam’s Paradiso with their live act Howling. The duo joined by a soul drenching drummer were constantly covered in a mystical smoke during the concert. Only recognized by their shadows, like wolves howling in the mist. Their most magical moments were “We Stole The Night” and a brilliant cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. It made the crowd leave the church with goose bumps. Amen to that!
Getting intimate with Innervisions at Marktkantine
German label Innervisions teamed up with one of Amsterdam’s newest clubs called Marktkantine. Surrounded by electronic music lovers from all over the world, Dixon, Âme and Solar shaped a night to remember. Built in 1936 as a canteen for Dutch market traders, the intimate setting of De Marktkantine created a special bond between the DJs and the crowd. Definitely a venue you shouldn’t miss if you visit Amsterdam.
Britt, Brands, Martin Garrix & More
In between the partying and raving there was another big conference, ADE Dance & Brands. An initiative by Amsterdam Dance Event, BPP Media, First Day of Spring and Marketing Tribune.
Our very own Britt Hysen (Editor in Chief of MiLLENNiAL) was moderating the event together with Ruud Hendriks (Co-founder Startupbootcamp) in De Duif, a beautiful old church in the heart of Amsterdam.
In this booming era of electronic music, brands are collaborating with artists, festivals and events. Superstar DJ’s like Martin Garrix know all about this. Although the world’s biggest brands are lining up to work with him, the Dutch phenomenon said he only works with brands that he actually uses or likes. “In that way it doesn’t feel like work,” he adds.
One example of a brand that successfully collaborates with the electronic music scene is Ray-Ban. They teamed up with Boiler Room three years ago and have created a bunch of legendary events and valuable content. Sonia Salvador (Ray-Ban US) reflected on the power of this partnership, “Memories of music moments shape who we are in our lives.”
The day emphasized the unlimited opportunities for brands to grow in and with the electronic music industry. But to make big steps, you first have to step on the dance floor yourself. Once you truly understand this culture, your brand can dance with millions upon millions of people.
Berlin style warehouse party by HYTE
In the industrial area of West Amsterdam lies a legendary party location; The Warehouse Elementenstraat. It’s a bit far from the center but the trip is worth it. During this ADE, promoter HYTE invited a lineup of techno heavyweights to feed the hungry party animals.
The room was packed when Ricardo Villalobos hit the decks, but luckily Makcim was an amazing back-up on stage two. If you like to dance your butt off, put both HYTE and Warehouse Elementenstraat on your bucket list. Both are must-sees when visiting Amsterdam!
The Breakfast Club for Dessert
What’s a better way to end an amazing week of partying than with some after hour beats and bananas? Closure opened its doors – during the last three ADE mornings – for their ‘Breakfast Club’. The nightclub is located in the center of Amsterdam and literally underground.
Walking down the steps into this dark basement, the smell of fresh croissants lingered up the corridor, offering a tasty treat into a den of never-ending beats and a Funktion One sound system. Yum! On the last day, Donato Dozzy, Peter van Hoesen, Tom Liem and Marco Shuttle served the last man and woman standing, an epic ADE breakfast for dessert.
Joining the Fun of Amsterdam Dance Event
ADE is not just an electronic music festival. It’s five days and nights filled with unique events, exhibitions, conferences and parties where people from all over the world share their love for dance music. It’s the perfect place to network, learn and keep track on the latest and greatest.
The beauty of ADE is that it stimulates both the body and mind, which makes it a unique festival to feed our hungry generation. But what truly brings this festival to life is the city itself. Amsterdam is a gem and if you ever get the chance, we highly recommend that your first visit to this city be during ADE. With dreamy environments, hospitable locals, and a dance scene that will make your toes go numb, Amsterdam offers an energetic and enriched experience unlike anywhere else in Europe.
So…who’s up for Amsterdam Dance Event 2016? Let’s get this party started!
Mark van der Heijden
After working for the ad industry for 7 years, Mark tossed his life into a backpack and traveled to 27 countries on 7 continents working for 32 companies in exchange for room and board. Now, as the CEO of Wanderbrief, he is sharing that passion with thousands around the world looking for the same work/life experience.