Every year, at the end of October, when the weather takes a turn for the worse and we should be inside huddled up, Amsterdam plays host to ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) a four-day summit that mixes business with pleasure.
ADE is the European equivalent of Miami’s WMC event, with less silicon-enhanced women. It’s where journalists, agents, managers, promoters, PRs and many others associated with the electronic music world go to broker deals, talk about the future of music and, of course, check out the talent. i-D online enjoyed three full nights of partying at the music festival as well as the chance to see the business side of the event in full effect…
On a rain-drenched, cloudy day a queue of important (and maybe not-so-important) music industry bods forms outside the Dylan Hotel – which is at the epicentre of all business-related activity at ADE. At this point, wristbands and name tags are being collected as well as the coveted ADE goodie bag, which this year comes in the form of a funky S&M-esque rucksack. Familiar faces greet each other, reeling off a list of Frequently Asked Questions: “What brings you out here?” “How long are you here for?” “Which parties are you going to?” However, once all the formalities are out of the way, and we ingest a good amount of food, it’s party time!
First stop, the Flying Circus boat party held on (and off) the docks next to Amsterdam Central station. With DJs like Alex Niggemann, Radio Slave, the delectable Nina Kraviz, LA outfit Droog and Guy Gerber in control, the music was of a consistently high quality. The real fun began when the boat set off and, due to the tides, you’d lose your balance while trying to show off your dance moves. Then it was time to head down to the centre of Amsterdam to a huge club called Melkweg. Here techno don Carl Craig was celebrating 20 years of his label Planet-E. Whispers suggested he was planning an extra special performance and a few minutes in to his live show it became apparent that the rumour mill was correct! Carl is renowned for his slow build-ups; his live show (in conjunction with Francesco Tristano and Moritz von Oswald) often becoming something of a jam session, which some people may not get initially. However, like a magician, Carl conjures up a perfect, intense atmosphere where the sudden introduction of a kick drum or snare has ten times the effect it would normally.
On the second night infamous Ibiza promoters Circo Loco were in town for what promised to be a huge party, with Ellen Allien, Seth Troxler and Dyed Soundorom lined up. Taking place at Westerunie, a former factory quite a way out of the centre, this was easily one of the best parties of the week – despite the distance from Amsterdam’s centre, it was packed to the rafters and every DJ played a belter. Midway through though we head to the city’s famous Studio 80 club, which hosted Mixmag’s ADE bash – again, completely packed, a superlative performance by super-talented producer Maya Jane Coles was the night’s highlight.
On the third night another boat party, this time on a vessel owned by the famous Supperclub franchise. Unfortunately, a stellar all-female line-up including the infallible Heidi, Kate Simko and Margaret Dygas (and the promise of British DJ Matt Tolfrey performing in drag) was not enough to tempt the crowds from the city centre and the decision was made to close the party several hours earlier than planned. A sign that, occasionally, there is just too much going on at ADE for every party to be a success.
Overall, the event is proof, if ever it was needed, that Amsterdam is an essential destination – not only for party people, but for those who want to learn more about the electronic music industry and its inner workings. Same time, same place next year.
Text: Marcus Barnes
Photography (top): Kevin Diederen
Photography (bottom two): Betribes