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.