Heading to ADE for the first time? Agnes Klos tells you what to expect...
ADE, or Amsterdam Dance Event, is one of the most significant annual happenings on the electronic music scene, taking place in one of the most thrilling cities in the world. Spanning over five days starting from 17 October, thousands of music lovers and industry professionals will flood the city and many dozens of venues will be transformed into the biggest global business platform for electronic music of the year. It's an explosive combination that's simply not to be missed.
Underground acts, scene-makers, journalists and creators will travel from around the globe for one week in October just to be a part of the craziest period in Amsterdam’s year. Described as the largest club festival in the world for the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres, ADE is not just a party, there is so much more to it! It is the leading global electronic music conference and platform, uniting artists from around the world and cultivating next generation of sound.
Adventurous music lovers and industry professionals get the opportunity to network with each other, discover new brands on the block, share time with some great artists behind decks, shop great records and items, enjoy music and drinks, meet the crew behind the scenes, chill out and, of course, dance to the numerous DJ showcases, which are highly regarded for their energy and lineups.
ADE is about having fun - but it also means business. So here are some basics that you need to know before you attend.
The event features over 2,500 artists, over 600 speakers and almost 1,000 events in around 200 venues over five days, attracting over 370,000 visitors from every corner of the planet. ADE consists of a conference (day) and festival (day & night) programme. Which basically means that the city of Amsterdam is all about electronic music for five days and nights. Be prepared for a marathon - make sure that you plan ahead and look after yourself well!
ADE BY DAY
ADE's daytime programme features a ton of inspiring events. It is literally impossible to visit all venues, so check back on the ADE site regularly for program updates and start planning early.
The ADE conference provides dedicated programming for music professionals, aspiring DJs/producers and musicians, tech start-ups, brand and marketing managers and much more. Gear demonstrations; creating Green festivals supporting sustainability; Studio XL sessions, where aspiring producers get the chance to sit face-to-face with their favourite artists to get insight on great production tips and tricks. You can do it all!
This year's edition focuses on South Korea as one of the nine countries that are part of the global electronic music village and whose professionals have been attending the event for the last 20 years. The Country Focus events feature an interactive new format at the De La Mar Theater and host panels about South Africa and recently added Brazil, among others.
ADE offers a wide range of interactive debates and inspiring keynotes, featuring the most creative minds and industry leaders. It’s a brave new world for electronic music production, full of pitfalls and possibilities, and ADE aims to help the new generation by showing them the path. Recently added speakers are Jean-Michel Jarre and Nile Rodgers, among many others: John Acquaviva, Juan Atkins, Kim Bjørn… the list is long and truly inspiring.
Programmes run only on specific days, so be careful not to miss what you intend to see. ADE Pro runs Wednesday to Saturday, ADE BeamLab on Wednesday, ADE Beats on Friday, ADE Green on Wednesday, ADE Sound Lab from Thursday to Saturday, ADE Tech on Thursday, and ADE University from Wednesday to Friday.
ADE's Festival programme covers art, film, gear, music, in-store label days and pop-up day events. It's filled with unmissable places and hidden gems. So if you want to show off your talent and spin some beats, need to recover with a quality brunch in an environment with great music or feel like stretching your body with yoga to the rhythm of deep house, yes, it is all possible! Gear freak or aspiring musician? You can try out the latest equipment for free at the Festival Hangout or attend one of the many workshops in the ADE week.
ADE BY NIGHT
ADE by night features lots of events for electronic music enthusiasts. It is literally a music paradise, filled with huge label/party/festival giants bringing us the finest DJs in the game. Just a selection this year's hosts include Awakenings, Verknipt, DGTL, Drumcode, Gardens of Babylon, In Trance We Trust, Luminosity, House Royale, Circoloco & Loveland, Legendary, Maxximize and Kiss Kiss. On top of all that, ADE Live is the second edition of the two-day showcase festival focused on live electronic music, expanding its spectrum to a group of 23 artists this year.
It goes without saying that ADE is a monster in size and dance music is given an enormous pedestal here in Amsterdam. Everyone who is into the electronic music, in the widest sense of the word (so that includes hip-hop and experimental electronica) will be here!
On Wednesday 17 October, Daybreaker - a dance movement that combines partying with creativity, connection and health - will be the first party during ADE 2018. Tune in with yoga session at 05.30am and start dancing fresh with the DJ performance of Kav Verhouzerand various live acts for two hours from 06.30am. Instead of alcohol, snacks and juices will be served. A wicked way to kick off ADE in style!
From then on, there will be no stopping. Prepare yourself to dance the upcoming nights away and when you are done, there is always an after-party, followed up by the daytime program of the festival. So fasten your seat belts well - you're in for quite a ride!
Amsterdam's scene is constantly evolving, and this year there are some great parties popping up in weird locations all around the city. For example, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the entire central train station of Amsterdam will be converted into a mecca for techno-lovers, an all-nighter concept brought to us by Audio Obscura, featuring artists such as Charlotte de Witte, Joris Voorn and more. Melkweg, Paradiso and Sugar Factory, will be home to ADE Live where visitors and industry professionals can explore new electronic acts playing live. For more information on venues, check ADE website.
Another great initiative at this year's ADE is Spaces. Busy networking all day long and in need of a place to work, meet or organise events? Throughout the entire week, Spaces offers an office or desk for a day - or a meeting room, or a business club. Alternatively, if you are looking to make Asian connections, visit House of China or join the buzz at Andaz Amsterdam - a creatively distinctive and comfortably electric spot.
We'll close with a word from Detroit techno legends Octave One. "In Amsterdam, the audience makes us work harder for it because they are exposed to a lot more," they say in Geschikte Gasten's short documentary PERSPECTIVE, which you can see below (and which also features Eats Everything, SJamsoedin and Ellen Allien). "You really have to impress them, you really have to give it to them. And that is what we like to do anyway!"
Words: Agnes Klos & Gino Van Herp
Passes for ADE 2018 are still available. The ADE Pass (five days and nights) gives you access to the complete ADE programme, while the ADE Conference Pass (four days) gives you access to the complete day programme. An ADE Pass or an ADE Conference Pass also gives you access to the online database of attendees and speakers. An ADE Card for only 15 Euros gives you access to ADE Sound Lab, MusicTalks, art expos, films and events.