Getting up at 5am to go into the office at 11am in another country can only mean one thing – it’s time to catch a plane for the annual tradition that is the Amsterdam Dance Event.
Now in it’s 18th year, ADE is easily one of the most forward-thinking music conferences that I been to over the last few years. Many industry contacts that I have known from all over the world also see it as an essential in the diary, even if only for a flying visit. I arrive and head down the dewy canal roads of the City towards the heart of the conference; the Felix Meritis Hotel. Greeted by a flurry of industry heads, friends old and new the day flies away in a bit of a whirlwind but as it got dark, it was soon time to head off to the Snowbombing official Press Launch.
Situated amongst the backstreets at Bar Struik, Rozengracht; the party kicked off early doors and the bar steadily filled up from 5pm. As the free Heinekens flowed, they unveiled the first round of headliners to grace the Austrian slopes for Snowbombing 2015 – including the likes of Carl Cox, Rudimental, Skrillex, Basement Jaxx and Damian Lazarus to name a few. After watching the screening of the 2015 trailer of the festival which is already in it’s 14th year, it’s clear to see they are never short of new ideas to keep the sell-out festival in fashion.
Thursday was also the night that DGTL presented the Life and Death label party at the vast warehouse space NDSM Scheepsbouwloods. Label bosses Tale of Us were accompanied on the line-up by the legendary DJ Harvey, DJ Tennis, Mind Against, and Tobias to name but a few. The favourite set of the night for me came from DJ Tennis in the early hours of the morning, when to round of his set decided to pull classics such as Marvin Gaye’s ‘Lost In Music’ and Gat Décor’s ‘Passion’ out the bag.
Another day of meetings, coffees and hangover chat ensued on Friday; and before you could say “mag ik een bier alstublieft?” (“can I have a beer please?”) it was already time to begin Friday night festivities. On the calendar, the plan was to pop into an event run by the famous techno festival promoters Awakenings. This year their ADE party was held at the impressive Gashouder, located in the northwest of Amsterdam’s gasworks complex. On the bill was Joris Voorn, Maya Jane Coles, Pan-Pot, Hot Since 82 and Kolsch. One of the first super clubs I ever attended to was in Amsterdam for NYE many moons ago – it was 5,000 capacity and I remember being in awe of the pyrotechnics and the attention to detail, and it seems that the clubs in Amsterdam continue to do exactly that. Gashouder’s maximum capacity is 3,500 and the light show and indoor fireworks display were quite a sight to behold. A highlight on the music front was Maya Jane Coles dropping Robert Hood’s re-plant of his own Floorplan alias ‘Never Grow Old’; it absolutely destroys the dancefloors everytime it’s played out and this was no exception.
Day three, and all the parties were still in full swing; quite often clubs not shutting their doors before the next party begins. My weekend was all about visiting the famous Trouw before it finally closes it’s doors for good on the 3rd January. Many friends of mine have compared it to a weekend spent in Berghain so I was curious to see how it would compare. Saturday night’s line up included the likes of Four Tet, John Hopkins (live), Floating Points, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Move D in the basement. M.C.D.E played his usual grooving classics, the basement room being dark lighting and low ceiling was the perfect setting. Admittedly it was also very easy to lose hours in the club that was once a newspaper printing factory; two floors, a restaurant, and a third room that on Sunday opened it’s doors to house the Trouw residents. As Sunday crept up on us, a new wave of visitors arrived – you could tell it was daytime from the cracks in the blinds, which meant that Trouw’s own ADE special day and night party had begun. On the bill was Omar S, Mano Le Tough, Gerd Janson, Tom Trago, Boris Werner, William Kouam Djoko and that’s missing out over half the line up. Anyone who had been there a while (myself included) wouldn’t have been disappointed when Gerd Janson started his set, spinning tracks such as Robert Hood’s remix of Carl Taylor ‘Debbie’s Groove’, and chuggy numbers like Matias Aguayo’s ‘Dance Machine’ into tracks like the acid-tinged ‘Put Your Weight On It’ by Todd Osbourne.
After a 23 hour excursion in Trouw, and various phone calls telling me I’m missing out; it’s quite difficult to tear yourself away from the parties that surround the Amsterdam Dance Event. Every year I’m even more impressed with the record labels, businesses and everyone else involved in bringing new things to the table; and an event that can condense it all into 5 days never ceases to amaze me.
Words: Anna Wall