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Amsterdam Dance Event 2016 was a roaring success, here's everything you need to know
With something as colossal as Amsterdam Dance Event, it can be very difficult to distil into words just exactly what went down. The conference ran for five days last week and hosted pretty much every DJ, producer, manager, agent, booker, photographer and journalist in the industry. To try and give you a chronological run through of what we saw is far too much for our bass-battered brains to handle right now. So we thought we'd break it down into the need-to-knows, the ABC's of ADE.
A - Amsterdam
Aside from being an idyllic and beautiful city, Amsterdam really is the only place in the world you could host something like ADE. It was such a breath of fresh air to be in a city were club culture is not only tolerated, but actively celebrated by the local authorities. Amsterdam Night Mayor, Mirik Milan, has been quoted in plenty of articles about London's nightlife, and it's easy to see why. What other city could host over 1000 events in 140 venues over five days without incident? If London's incoming night mayor wants to truly change the landscape, they simply must attend ADE 2017.
B - Black Clothes
It's been a long running joke that everyone in the dance music industry wears all-black-everything. But when you go to something like ADE the joke only gets funnier. In every lobby of every hotel, outside every bar and cafe, in-line for every event, it's hordes of men and women, dressed head-to-toe in black. Basically ADE could double up as the world's biggest goth convention.
C - Crane Party
We've been to some pretty unusual parties in our time. In the past year alone we've partied on a bus, inside a glacier, at a spooky cabin in the woods, even in at an oasis in Morocco, but a party inside a crane still had us very excited. When we arrived at Mixmag's party in Crane Hotel Faralda in the north of the city, we were taken aback by just how massive the crane was. Vertigo was well and truly setting in. Luckily the party wasn't actually at the top of the iron monstrosity, but about half way up. This allowed for stunning views of the city, whilst keep our legs steady enough to dance.
D - DJs
More than 2,200 artists performed over the course of five days. That's an incredible figure, and there really was something for everyone. From the big room sounds of EDM to UK-focused house, to underground techno, all tastes were catered for. Considering the small size of Amsterdam it also allowed for some great out-and-about DJ spotting.
E - ...
Lets just leave that there...
F - Freebies
Over the course of the week we managed to get our hands on a lot of freebies. From backpacks to umbrellas, books, magazines, drinks, nibbles, and of course demos.
G - Gashouder
Pronounced 'HAUS HOUDER', according to our taxi driver, Gashouder is one of the largest venues at ADE. An old industrial building, it has the look and feel of a roofed sports arena. For the duration of the conference Gashouder was home to Awakenings the Dutch festival brand specialising in stadium-sized techno. We caught Apollonia and Joris Voorn laying down some serious beats late into Friday night. And while the artists brought their A-game, the standout star of the night had to be the indoor fireworks display.
H - Head
You'll be getting a lot of it. No, not the kind from the red light district, the head on your beer! For some reason it's passé for Amsterdam barmen to tilt the glass when pouring, so the average beer comes with about 45% head. It's a sight that would make a northerner cry, but whatever you do, DO NOT as for a top up. This goes down worse than Guetta's Euro track.
I - Intellectual Debate
ADE isn't just about the parties and free stuff. It's also the best place on earth to learn about the inner workings of the dance music industry and to discuss the issues affecting the culture. We caught a few panels over the course of the week, but probably the most enlightening was the Mental Health Vs Hedonism discussion chaired by shesaid.so. The all female panel discussed the problems that constant touring can have on artist's mental health. It's a subject that is only just beginning to be addressed by recent high profile statements from Benga, Ben Pearce and Rustie. Lets hope work like this continues.
J - Jackets
It seems that jackets in Holland are like caps in the UK - you're probably not going to be allowed to wear one in the club. Most of the bigger venues have lockers, but at €7 these are pretty pricey. Our pro tip is to bring a bag you can stuff your coat into or go for the classic tied round the waist. Either that our run away from the bouncers when they tell you off.
K - Kompakt
One of our favourite labels took over one of our favourite venues on Saturday for DGTL X Kompakt. Putting together one of the heaviest line-ups of the conference. We danced for hours to the sounds of Laurent Garnier, Kolsch, Âme and Agoria.
L - Laughs
ADE isn't just about the music industry. There's also a lot of other cultural offerings that tie into electronic music. This year had a range of photo galleries and a Banksy exhibition. Probably our favourite 'off ADE' event was the dance music themed comedy night at the Comedy Store. We checked this out on the Saturday. Unfortunately all the acts were in Dutch, but the room were in stitches, so it must've been good.
M - Martin Garrix
The twenty year old Dutchman became the youngest person ever to win the DJ Mag Top 100 Poll at an unusual ceremony on ADE's opening night. While nobody in the industry begrudges Martin his win, it seems that everyone, even the EDM stars the brand helped create, have run out of patience with the poll.
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