Night view of ADE' hotel Felix Meritis during ADE, Amsterdam. 2016 - Credits : Coen Van Tartwijk
Night view of ADE' hotel Felix Meritis during ADE, Amsterdam. 2016 - Credits : Soundlr

Amsterdam Dance Event close its 21st edition on a huge success

Alexandre Trochut
On Monday October 24th, this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event was brought to a close. From Wednesday October 19th onwards, the city of Amsterdam was fully dedicated to the 21st iteration of ADE, the world’s biggest club festival for dance music and most important business platform for electronic music industry.

After raising this years capacity to meet the growing demand, ADE is proud to announce that its conference has sold out for the tenth consecutive year. This year’s edition also broke new records, with 550 speakers, over 2,200 artists in more than 140 venues, 1000 events and 375,000 visitors.


ADE Festival


ADE’s offical opening ceremony took place on Wednesday, under the canopy of the Stedelijk Museum. Visual artists Nick Mind, Nikki Hock, Children of the Light and scientists from the TNO, transformed the emotive aspect of the watching crowd into a large-scale light sculpture. The Museum Quarter also served as the location to host the first concert ever in the underpass of the Rijskmuseum. Maceo Plex treated 2,000 visitors (out of a potential 60,000 people who registered) to this unique experience. The Van Gogh Museum also presented a special audio tour by Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, who highlighted some of his favorite works. This year’s festival program covered the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres, with over 2,200 artists including Adam Beyer, Ben UFO, Craig David, David Guetta, Dixon, DJ Harvey, Francesco Tristano, Gilles Peterson, Jessy Lanza, Hudson Mohawke, Jazzy Jeff, Laurent Garnier, Laurie Anderson, Martin Garrix, Maya Jane Coles, Metropole Orkest, Nicole Moudaber, Netsky, Philip Glass, Rebekah, Richie Hawtin, Seth Troxler, Skepta and Voices From The Lake performing in 140 of Amsterdam’s finest music and nightlife spaces.


ADE Conference


Dutch DJ & producer Nicky Romero during a conference. 2016 – Credits : Tim Buiting

ADE’s multiple conference streams offered the ultimate annual business and inspiration platform in the field of electronic music, featuring dedicated programming for business professionals, start-ups, aspiring producers and musicians, students, VJs, visual artists and stage designers. The programs featured in-depth expertise and insight into the harder and urban music genres, the connection between dance & brands, the relationship between music and technology, and sustainable, ecologically responsible practices for the global dance music industry. Keynote speakers included Kickstarter’s head of music Molly Neuman, Def Jam CEO Steve Bartel, Gilles Peterson, Grammy Award winner Om’mas Keith, Spotify’s Matthew Ogle, 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, Managing Director of the global indie label Cooking Vinyl.


ADE Playground


Daytime program ADE Playground provided entertainment, engagement and plenty of surprises for the legions of electronic music fans visiting Amsterdam for ADE. The mostly free daytime program featured a wealth of dance music-related exhibitions, films, documentaries, DJ showcases, gear master classes and artist Q&A’s, taking place across Amsterdam’s five main districts, utilising historical locations and unique venues across the city. ADE MusicTalks, a series of open interviews and Q&A sessions, brought fans up close and personal with their heroes including Joris Voorn, Noisia, Octave One, Joe Claussell, Oliver Heldens and Richie Hawtin. Music giants Roland, Ableton, Native Instruments, Pioneer, MOOG and more, offered unique insight into the latest gear. The Conservatorium hotel played host a healthy and unwinding alternative with ‘The Healing Garden’, providing an opportunity for attendees to engage with more mindfulness-related purpose with yoga and relaxation techniques.

Canadian DJ & producer Richie Hawtin during a conference. 2016 – Credits : Jason


There were also several new features launched at this year’s event. Former shipyard NDSM Wharf played host to the debut of ADE SLEEP/OVER, a pop-up campsite located on the impressive post-industrial site in Amsterdam Noord. The festival-village on the banks of the IJ boasted a 100% occupancy rate, offering over four hundred comfortable, heated, sleeping accommodations with jaw-dropping views over the city of Amsterdam, along with an an extensive program of music, artist talks, art and performances. It also hosted the the Dutch National Opera’s first show at ADE, “Before Present“.

The first ADE Hackathon also took place in the Greenpeace office. Launched in collaboration with DGTL and Young Creators, ADE Hackathon challenged a group of young professionals to work on innovation and entrepreneurship for improvement and in dance and festival scene. With the addition of ADE Live, ADE offered new electronic live acts an extra chance to present themselves to the public and industry. The two-day showcase program was held in collaboration with and at Melkweg, Paradiso and Sugar Factory.


The best is the enemy of good.


Amsterdam Dance Event’ paradox is that by becoming a must-have has lost its essence. Today, a big majority of electronic music’s keyplayers are no longer buying the black & yellow badge & no longer taking appointment inside ADE. All business meetings are around the Amsterdam Dance Event places. As internet and the darknet, ADE now affects the general public and is – as such – an example to the world, both by the wealth of content offered and the quality of the speakers but it is clear that its first lovers have today deserted the corridors of Felix Meritis & Dylan hotel to find a more business-oriented place in other hotels or apartments & that’s a shame because the essence of this event was just the perfect blend of the most important people and aspiring talents in the same place.

Today it seems that some of the players in electronic music have turned their backs on the ADE and uses his aura and the crowd it attracts people to gravitate around. By becoming so rich, the event created a double frustration; the keyplayers are not being able to lose time to evolve within the general public, and on the other side, the multitude of events leaves the impression – even after having attended multiple conferences and events of being missed the important. From the inside, it’s a cruel bittersweet feeling that this 2016 edition has provided to us..

About ADE

In the past twenty years ADE has grown into a globally renowned platform for the international dance and electronic music scene. The festival is the perfect place to spot the latest musical trends and emerging talents, as well as hearing the most recent work of both electronic music pioneers and current superstar acts. In addition to the extensive line-up of the ADE Festival, the ADE Playground offers music enthusiasts a large and varied daytime program including exhibitions, in-store promotions, pop-up stores and film screenings all over the city center. The business aspect of the event (ADE Conference) is recognized as the most important of its kind, presenting a broad range of conferences and networking opportunities that focus on music and technology, VJs & visuals, sustainability, dance & brands, harder dance styles, new talent and the education of students.