9th November 2015

Amsterdam Dance Event 2015

As anyone who has gone ‘out out’ with me or has a quickly flicked through this website, will know that I quite enjoy dance music. More specifically progressive house, deep house and I’m slowly moving towards ‘house house’ (the kind that sounds like the repetitive beat similar to when you’ve put a pair or shoes in the tumble drier) – much to the amusement of some of my friends who have liked ‘house house’ for a while.

Amsterdam Dance Event yellow chair next to a waterway

One of the many ADE chairs scatted across Amsterdam. © David Endersby 2015

So I’d really like to go to Tomorrowland in Belgium, widely regarded as the biggest and best dance music festival in the world but tickets are rarer than gold dust (unless you want to shell out the mega bucks). For me Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) was the next best thing.

In case you don’t know, the whole premise behind ADE is that bunch of international djs coving all dance music genres take over Amsterdam’s clubs, pubs and public spaces. They put on a city based festival that caters to more or less anyone with the slightest interest in dance and electronic music. Its been going for almost 20 years, starting as a small event and it has grown exponentially year on year. 2015 brought together 2,289 artists playing at over 1,000 events to 365,000 people. Theres also a formal conference during the day for industry professionals. The city is brought alive with dance music playing in every bar, shop and supermarket.

I flew out on Wednesday, meeting my friend at Schiphol airport, equipped with a lonely planet guide to Amsterdam and citymapper (which turned out to be an absolute life saver even if it did munch through £30 of data). First thing on the list was to get a photo with the Iamsterdam sign which we bumped into heading the wrong way out of the airport. With that done we had to figure out how to get a to the hotel. We rather enjoyed the double decker trains and managed to get the right bus to the hotel. The hotel itself was modern & clean and the staff pleasant and helpful.

We dumped our bags, jumped onto the tram and headed towards the city centre(via a tram roundabout – yet another novelty). We ended up having sushi for lunch (sadly too early for all you can eat) before wondering through the maze of side streets that litter the city centre. The number of ‘smart shops’ that sell mushrooms for seemingly every situation paired with the occasional wiff of weed from the numerous coffee shops was mildly amusing, if slightly strange. The markets were full of stalls selling the most wondrous array of bulbs (for the garden not to ingest) but at that point I had no idea how I’d get them home.

After a few hours exploring we returned to the hotel and grabbed a crate of beer (much to the amusement of the hotel receptionist) and started preparing for the night ahead. Its at this point that the days and nights seem to merge into one another.

The first night was the busiest night of the week, with 2 events planned (and at least 3 others that we wanted to go to). The first was the Spinnin Sessions Secret Showcase at Air but when we arrived the queue was around the block and we still had no idea about who was actually playing. With heavy hearts, we opted to go straight to the Protocol Records party at Melkveig. We planned on watching Deniz Koyu and Nicky Romero but when the floor got to busy to move we headed next door and ended dancing the night away to Gregor Salto and Arno Cost. Having been awake for 24 hours, we headed home at 5am. Needless to say, my feet didn’t appreciate the 2 mile walk in my new shoes.

The next day was spent mostly sleeping but we did make it out late afternoon. We had a wander around central Amsterdam and had dinner at a steakhouse. The weather was chilly and miserable (something that didn’t change for most of our stay) so the warm steakhouse was much appreciated. The waitresses were stunning and spoke perfect english. It was a good meal.

For me, this was the best night of the week. We went to the Hysteria records party which was in a small bar near Leidseplein. It could’ve only had a capacity of 200-300 people and it was full but there was still room to dance and grab a pint when it was needed. The best moment was late into the night where they filled the room with CO2, so much so that I couldn’t see my friend standing less than a foot away from my face. There was also a confetti cannon (which I love), I nabbed a free t-shirt (which is absolutely massive) and got a balloon for the trip home. It was a great night.

Having had a slightly easier night drink wise, we made it out just after lunch after watching some of the live streams for the events we didn’t know about. We did a little exploring, munched on tasty waffles doused with Nutella and headed forone of the playground events.

The Gear Test lab gives DJs the opportunity to try before you buy, hosting the latest DJ equipment with a plethora of flashy lights a buttons that do things that I clearly didn’t understand. As it turns out, creating music on a ‘Machine’ is alot harder than it looks. Randomly tapping random buttons don’t really make the next number one album. I had a play with a mixing deck too which was quite fun despite not know what 99% of the buttons, knobs and flashing lights actually did.

Having perfected my David Guetta impression (Good producer. Bad DJ) we headed back toward the city centre. As part of ADE, SLAM radio had taken over a Mini dealership and turned it into a small club, getting DJ’s to play 30minutes to 1 hour sets were streamed live on the radio and the internet. It was a strange experience. We somehow managed to sneak it while others were turned away. The radio show with a pair of decks was in the showroom window with on lookers watching from outside (in the rain). It was surprisingly quiet inside considering there were internationally renowned DJs almost within arms reach.

Here is Firebeatz and if you hang around you might be lucky enough to see the back of my head (my best side – Bottom left corner in case your watching). We also got to enjoy Martin Solveig and you can see my face in this one (shock horror) but he wasn’t keen on getting a photo.

As it came to 9pm we were ushered towards the door – apparently it was guest list only after 9. To this day we still have no idea how to get on it. Instead we headed for food where i smashed through a huge calzone pizza despite not being hungry.

On that nights agenda was the Goldfish & Bakermat party over in what looked like an industrial warehouse. We are all a little dubious when the uber driver pulled up outside but the small crowds of people heading in suggested we were in the right place. It was a long tall factory that could easily build ships with its overhead gantry crane (as it turns out its used for office space and craft based industry). It has been outfitted with a large stage, professional lighting, CO2 cannons, bars and ice lolly stand (for the kids burning up on ecstasy or XTSY as it was spelt on the posters). Before you ask, Yes I had a lolly. No I wasn’t on drugs (Don’t need them). Was rather yummy though.

After an expensive Uber ride home, but we made it to bed at around 5:30am.

Saturday was fairly eventful considering we had been out for 3 nights in a row. We were keen to sample the culinary delights of Amsterdam. First on the list was what tasted like leek and potato (which in truth it could have been anything) Kroket from FEBO. I had read that this was a must when visiting Amsterdam. Basically its fast food to the extreme. Hot food vending machines lined the walls. Choose what you want, put the money in the slot and hey presto you have a hot snack. Was surprisingly nice.

Next on the list was pancakes from an authentic dutch pancake house and another opportunity to have another meal drenched in Nutella. It was yummy. Sadly they didn’t have marshmallows – that would be heavenly.  Saturday was the last day of the Pioneer Playground event so we headed over to have a look. While my friend played on the latest (and super expensive) DJ equipment I chilled out on some well placed bean bags googling ‘How go get into Dj’ing‘. Had I caught the bug? Maybe.

After an hour or so of pretend DJ’ing/chilling out listing to house music, we had another wonder around the city centre and found time for dinner and attempted to find the red light district – no trip to Amsterdam is complete without experiencing this. Its a strange experience if I’m honest. the streets were full of tourists of multiple nationalities, none looking whee they were going, distracted by the red glow of the windows. In case your wondering, the red lights are best for the skin, making the girls more attractive and the UV lights emphasise their underwear. Surprisingly some of the girls were quite pretty but none enough to make me part with 50 Euros. Not my kind of bag.  There were even posters advertising windows for rent, only 80 euros a day. You do the maths.

For the last night of ADE we were seeing Martin Solveig’s pacha set at Escape. We drink the last of the beers at the hotel and headed out. It was a good night. Martin played a good set and was joined by Oliver Heldens later in the night. After another night of dancing the night away I got back to the hotel at close to 6am.

Sunday was the last day of the holiday and it went fairly quickly. We left our bags at the hotel and headed towards Anne Franks huis via some lunch. When we got there there was a long queue – My Lonely planet guide had warned us about this but it was miserable and we didn’t want to hang around. Instead we took the opportunity to visit some parts of the city we hadn’t been to yet. We ended up walking through Voldelpark which would’ve been nice had it not been wet and miserable. The Van Gough museum was well worth the money we paid to get in. We spent the afternoon looking at some beautiful artwork although his later work gets abit strange. Soon enough it was time to get to the airport.

Another photo showing looking down one of Amsterdams canals. Even though it was grey and miserable it’s still beautiful. © David Endersby 2015

Overall it was a good trip. I got see see quite abit of Amsterdam and get a sense of the nightlife. Its a beautiful city, living up the stories I had been told from seemingly everyone I knew who had already been there before. The people are very pleasant too. My only regret was not the take BA’s 250 euros and stay another night. My own bed was beckoning.

I survived ADE 2015. Maybe I’ll do it all again next year.


P.s If you are the girl who sat next to me on the plane on the way to Amsterdam, You should probably get in touch