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Scores of electronic mu­sic heavy­weights were in at­ten­dance at the lat­est edi­tion of the glob­ally renowned Am­s­ter­dam Dance Event. By Will Kin­sella

This year was my tenth trip to the Am­s­ter­dam Dance Event (ADE), which has now been on the go for over two decades. From Oc­to­ber 19, the city was fully ded­i­cated to the world’s big­gest electronic mu­sic fes­ti­val and con­fer­ence.

ADE has proven once again that it is one of the electronic mu­sic in­dus­try’s most im­por­tant plat­forms. The con­fer­ence sold out for the tenth year in a row, wel­com­ing 550 speak­ers, and over 2,200 artists in more than 140 venues. In all, there were 1000 events and 375,000 visi­tors.

The ADE fes­ti­val smashed all records once again. The of­fi­cial open­ing cer­e­mony took place un­der the canopy of the St­edelijk Museum, fea­tur­ing vis­ual artists Nick Mind, Nikki Hock, Chil­dren of the Light and sci­en­tists from the TNO. Maceo Plex per­formed to 2000 visi­tors at the first ever concert in the un­der­pass of the Ri­jskmu­seum, while Ar­min Van Bu­uren pre­sented a spe­cial au­dio tour of the Van Gogh Museum.

The over­all scale of the night pro­gramme is be­yond im­pres­sive. Fes­ti­val size venues across the city were sold out night after night. Pop­u­lar brands such as Awak­en­ings and HYTE, mean­while, were also a huge draw. Par­tic­u­lar con­grat­u­la­tions are in or­der to Sven Väth and his team at Co­coon, who cel­e­brated their 20th an­niver­sary.

Richie Hawtin’s En­ter also sold out at Love­land, with the pro­ducer’s pi­o­neer­ing new au­dio vis­ual show once again blow­ing audiences away. This year all main room artists, in­clud­ing Ire­land’s Mata­dor, had their own ded­i­cated vis­ual artists. Adam Beyer, Dave Clarke, Dixon, Lau­rent Garnier and Philip Glass were among the many artists per­form­ing across Am­s­ter­dam’s 140 nightlife spaces.

The ADE Con­fer­ence of­fered dis­cus­sion pan­els for in­dus­try del­e­gates, start-ups, vis­ual artists and per­form­ers. Key­note speak­ers in­cluded Kick­starter’s head of mu­sic Molly Neu­man, Def Jam CEO Steve Bar­tel, Gilles Peter­son, COO of Red Light Man­age­ment Bruce Eskowitz, Rob Newlan of Face­book Cre­ative Shop, Mute founder Daniel Miller, Ema­gen En­ter­tain­ment Group’s An­thony Saleh and Martin Gold­schmidt, MD of the global in­die la­bel Cook­ing Vinyl.

ADE Play­ground, mean­while, of­fered a wealth of dance-re­lated ex­hi­bi­tions, films, doc­u­men­taries, DJ show­cases, gear mas­ter­classes and artist Q&As. This took place in his­tor­i­cal lo­ca­tions and unique venues across the city.

Else­where, there was an ex­ten­sive em­pha­sis on new tech­nol­ogy at this year’s ADE Labs. Mu­sic giants Roland, Able­ton, Na­tive In­stru­ments, Pi­o­neer, Elek­tron and MOOG all dis­played their lat­est prod­ucts, of­fer­ing at­ten­dees an op­por­tu­nity to lis­ten and test for them­selves.

Richie Hawtin and Mata­dor de­liv­ered a PlayDif­fer­ently per­for­mance mas­ter­class at ADE Labs, with both pro­vid­ing an in­sight into their live per­for­mances. They also demon­strated how the MODEL 1 ana­logue DJ mixer works within that.

ADE Labs also hosted Mod­u­lar Synth Heaven, which was a cel­e­bra­tion of the his­tory and her­itage of syn­the­sis­ers. ADE in­vited leg­ends of the mod­u­lar synth world to de­liver a se­ries of in­spir­ing talks, work­shops, per­for­mances and a Mod­u­lar Mar­ket. This last event ex­hib­ited the lat­est in­ven­tions in mod­u­lar syn­the­sis. For the clos­ing of ADE, we wit­nessed a Mod­u­lar synth bat­tle, where three Dutch mod­u­lar en­thu­si­asts went head to head.

An­other no­table event came cour­tesy of Na­tive In­stru­ments, who hosted a se­ries of free pan­els, mas­ter­classes and work­shops at De Brakke Grond. There were panel dis­cus­sions with Todd Terry, DJ

Pierre and Joe God­dard (Hot Chip), in ad­di­tion to demon­stra­tions of their lat­est prod­uct, Mas­chine Jam.

It’s been re­mark­able to watch

ADE de­velop over the past ten years – in 2006, the day pro­gramme was hosted solely in the Felix Meri­tis. Its growth is a credit to Richard Zilma and his team.

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