Amsterdam Dance Event: A Review Of ADE 2014

*written by Crystal Garcia for Electronica Life
Electronic dance music industry movers and shakers, aspiring DJ’s and producers, along with EDM enthusiasts from across the globe made their way to the bustling city of Amsterdam, The Netherlands for the 19th annual ADE: Amsterdam Dance Event. This years edition of ADE divided into three jam packed programs including a conference, playground and club festival over five full days and nights.

ADE Conference attracted 5,200 attendees and filled the days with back to back informative whilst entertaining daily panel and keynote discussions with la creme de la creme of the industry at several locations across the city. Conference attendees were invited to ask their most pressing questions to head honchos such as Insomniac Events CEO Pasquale Rotella, Chris Stephenson of SFX Entertainment and Spinnin’ Records CEO Eelko Van Kooten, to name just a few.

A plethora of discussions and panels covering just about every aspect of the industry took place including Dutch Hardstyle Brothers Showtek, discussing their humble beginnings in one of the many artist “MusicTalks” discussions. Former Beatport CEO Michael Barth interviewed Live Nations head of Electronic Music division James Barton , in a Q&A panel about the future direction of festivals in the Unites States. During the “Brave new world of (Dance) Music Journalism” panel,  Zel McCarthy of VICE’s dance music publication THUMP, was hilariously snappy with other panel speakers while successfully proving his view  that dance music journalists need to be allowed to voice their honest opinions without fear of retaliation from artist management companies and record labels.
In one quite memorable panel, the conversation got heated between Dave Clarke with Seth Troxler and Vato Gonzalez with Mark Jones in the panel “What I like, and what I don’t like” with industry legend Tommie Sunshine speaking as the panel moderator. The panel led to a fiery debate concerning the labeling of “EDM”, and exploitation of the term in the US versus The Netherlands electronic music scene.

ADE PLAYGROUND played host to various dance music related lifestyle programs including film screenings, art shows, exhibits, and pop-up musical performances at multiple locations across the city. To find the various Playground venues, one only had to look out for the signature ADE bright yellow box marking the territory of each location. Although it was difficult to make time to visit the Playground events with so much of our time already occupied in the hustle and bustle of ADE events each day, we did stumble upon a few crafty art shows and exhibits that left us stalling for time just a bit longer.

Each night ADE FESTIVAL transformed Amsterdam into a citywide festival of clubs as 350,000 people from 85 countries made their way to experience 2,224 artists perform at over 125 venues across the city.  On the first of five nights out, we made our way to see Bassjackers & Dyro at Club Escape in Rembrandtplein square for the first performance of their new “X” tour together. After a few hours at Escape and in dire need of some deep house in my life, we made our way to Melkweg for a said to be very special deep house night presented by Tonspiel meets MFM booking.

As we entered Melkweg, I first noticed the ceiling of lights lowered in tune with the tempo of the music, and I Immediately knew we were in for a treat. German DJ Robin Schulz had the room grooving and moving until a live accapella of “Waves” began serenading through the speakers as the entire crowd paused to sing along for a few moments that easily became one of my favorite memories of ADE.
The next night we attended the “Hardwell Presents Revealed” night at The Heineken Music Hall with Revealed Recordings artists such as Julian Calor and Dannic, who premiered his new track with Shermanology “Wait For You.” We stayed long enough to see Hardwell take the stage and decided to call it an “early” night at 2 am when the realization dawned that we really should attempt to get some sleep with a full day of conferences, networking mixers, and yet another night out ahead of us the next day.

Friday came and went in a flash, as we found ourselves to be the last guests at the Bands In Town: ADE artist meetup mixer later that evening where we got a sneak peek at all the new features the company has planned in the coming months. Once we left the mixer, it was back to our place to change and straight to the Bedrock Showcase at Melkweg for a night of dark techno and progressive house with none other than electronic music pioneer, John Digweed.

On Saturday, the 2nd edition of the highly anticipated Amsterdam Music Festival took over the Amsterdam ArenA with headlining DJ’s Martin Garrix,Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, W&W, and Hardwell performing for over 20,000 dance music fans. Not only was AMF one of the highlight events of ADE, but also the official event of the DJ MAG TOP 100 announcement in which Hardwell was crowned the DJ MAG #1 DJ for the second year in a row. It felt quite surreal to take part in an event that was broadcasted live to millions of people around the word. For this reason alone I decided to ditch all other plans I had for the night and just dance into the wee hours of the morning with the thousands of like minded festival revellers from across the globe in attendance.
Saving the best for last on the final night of ADE, “Awakenings ADE Sunday Special” at Gashouder was the only place I wanted to be for my last night out in Amsterdam and I made sure all my friends in town joined us for what was sure to be one heck of a night.  I’d heard nothing but great things about both Awakenings and Gashouder, and could barely contain my excitement as we made the 15 minute trek from the tram stop to the venue.

As we approached the venue, a gust of humidity immediately swept over us and I knew it could only mean one thing; an indication that it was getting hot and heavy on that dancefloor. Gashouder was everything I expected it to be and more, it was in my opinion the perfect combination of the old school rave warehouse feel with modern day LED laser technology. Techno masters Dubfire & Paco Osuna lead the crowd on a musical journey as the infectious beats had everyone dancing along whether they opted to or not. My group decided to leave around 3 am, but I refused and stayed to get lost in the music alone, exactly how I prefer it. 5 am rolled around much sooner than I hoped, and just like that the night was over quicker than it had began. In no particular rush to get back to my place, I  roamed the streets of Amsterdam until the sunlight came up, and with a permanent smile on my face I could only help but think “A very successful ADE indeed.”