Amsterdam Dance Event
Posted by Andy Steves on December 8, 2014.
by: Peter Psaltakis, WSA Business Manager
Unbeknownst to a surprising number of Americans, especially amidst the hubbub surrounding electronic dance music’s mainstream arrival in the United States, Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the world’s largest electronic music party. Although its production level isn’t parallel to that of massive festivals like Tomorrowland in Belgium or Ultra Music Festival in Miami, it gathers more world-class DJ’s and producers than any other event in its class.
Taking place every fall, this year’s ADE ran from October 14-18, and I had the privilege of attending it with two of my closest friends. What truly made it special is that these friends were also colleagues of mine when I used to run a weekly dance music radio show program on WMUC-FM 88.1 when I was a student at the University of Maryland, College Park. It wasn’t my first time attending an event of this scale with these buddies, but it was the first time we were able to do so together in an international environment.
With the boundless amount of musical talent, agencies brokering deals in coffee shops, and record labels looking for the next big artist flooding Amsterdam during this week, ADE is essentially a zoo. To make sense of the chaos, it can be broken down into roughly three parts:
(1) Daytime conference events and panel discussions with leading industry experts. These are geared towards members of the industry (think: PR companies, companies revealing the latest DJ and music production technology, and occasionally a few artists) for the purpose of sharing best practices and fielding questions from the press.
(2) Evening dinners, press events, and promotional social gatherings. These are fun dinners, open bar pre-game parties, kitschy publicity stunts, and often invite-only events. This is when business gets done, interviews recorded, collaborations developed, and the money flows.
(3) Showcase parties – when record labels, affiliated artists, and Amsterdam’s dozens of venues are filled with revelers, music aficionados, and party animals from as early as 9 pm until as late as 9 am the next morning. In my opinion, they’re the best part about ADE.
My two friends and I dabbled in a press dinner for DJ Sneak and focused the rest of our attention on the parties. Our two highlights from the weekend included a warehouse event at Transformatorhuis and an invite-only party at the “audiophile and skinny jeans” styled BeatClub.
If you’re truly a dance music fan and have the opportunity to attend ADE, I’d highly recommend it. The event’s devoid of the 16 year old molly-poppin’ derelicts sporting Skrillex haircuts found in the suburban raves and college basements cropping up across the United States as it experiences its “EDM growing pains.” Instead, ADE is about the music, man… it’s all about the music.