The first impressions are familiar, at the start of the five-day Amsterdam Dance Event. The yellow banners flutter in the city, there are long queues in front of clubs and pop halls and a DJ is apparently also playing on the roof of hotel W, because from the street you can see the waving arms. Amsterdam celebrates the dance as usual, after a long darkness.
But still – and that only becomes apparent on closer inspection – the ADE is badly damaged and actually unrecognizable. The latest corona measures, announced only a month ago, have ruined the event: it is quiet at night, because clubs, stages and party halls have to be locked at midnight. So even in this celebration of dance culture, the nightlife should not actually exist yet.
More typical ADE feeling is missing. The organization was forced to cancel the annual conference, which attracted thousands of visitors from all over the world. The symposium could not be organised, because every effort had to be made to change the already planned public events from the nighttime hours to a daytime rhythm. So Amsterdam doesn’t see that famous parade of dance professionals, equipped with an ADE backpack on their way to the next showcase or workshop. It is a loss, because it is precisely this conference that always makes it such a lively and distinguished event, which everyone from the industry wants to attend.
So we can’t speak of a glorious rebirth of dance yet. So says Tim Middelesch of Awakenings, one of the largest organizers of techno parties and festivals worldwide and an important supplier of dance parties at the ADE. ‘It is of course gratifying that we can organize something again, but it will be difficult this year.’ According to him, the arrangement that only 75 percent of the large halls may be filled with an audience affects all players of the ADE. ‘That is a financial loss, because far fewer tickets are sold anyway.’ Awakenings, which organizes massive parties in the monumental Gashouder and the Ziggo Dome, can be happy if it just comes out of the costs and therefore does not turn a loss. “That will be exciting.”
The public has not been deterred by the early opening and closing times. On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after lunchtime, the loyal techno enthusiasts are already crowding at the entrance of the Gashouder. ‘Everyone is eager, because there has been nothing for so long and all regular Awakenings parties have been postponed,’ says Middelesch. ‘We have no complaints about interest: all our events are sold out.’
Another windfall: the availability of the DJs. Awakenings is a celebrated dance brand, and the biggest techno DJs want to play the Gashouder; the factory hall is one of the most beautiful locations for the dark and harder club styles. Middelesch: ‘They wanted to rebook a flight for that. You just want to stand here.’
The early performance also just had to fit into the international tour schedule. It remains strange: the biggest DJs, also from the Netherlands, have been playing at international festivals and parties for months, until late into the night – except in the Netherlands. The homeland of dance is the big exception with the night lock on the club culture. Middelesch: ‘That rule is inexplicable, and all this costs the dance companies a lot of money. Also think of the drink turnover, which starts less quickly with a daily programming. It’s a struggle, and we really see this edition of ADE as an investment in club culture. It must go on in spite of everything.’
You can see early in the afternoon in the Gashouder how great the need is for dance and DJ art to be experienced together. Many techno goers enter the dark domed hall with clenched fists: finally, it’s allowed again. They immediately get to process a very tight DJ set by the Spanish Indira Paganotto, with hollow banging and sawing four-quarter bars.
You can see the same experience throughout the entire ADE programme, at very different shows. A full Rabozaal lets itself be carried away by the Amsterdam band Weval with the Metropole Orkest, for a high-quality dance evening. And at the same time, the confetti cannons are popping in the Afas Live, at the election of the ‘DJ of the year’ by the British dance magazine DJ Mag. This is where the stars of the much more accessible electronic dance music (EDM), from Afrojack to Don Diablo and Armin van Buuren. The joy radiates in the hall, as if it is precisely this cheerful house that can make up for the lack of the past months.
The emotion is palpable when the fireworks shoot through the Afas and four thousand dancing EDM fans throw their arms in the air to that one big hit by Armin van Buuren: This Is What It Feels Like.
Weather David Guetta
No surprises with the announcement of the ‘DJ of the year’ in the Amsterdam Afas Live. Just like last year, French DJ David Guetta was voted number 1 by 1.3 million voters in the magazine’s poll. DJ Mag. The Dutchmen Martin Garrix and Armin van Buuren came in 2nd and 3rd place. In the top 10 it is orange at the top as usual: half consists of Dutch people.
ADE is badly damaged, but the revival of club culture is hopeful
Source link ADE is badly damaged, but the revival of club culture is hopeful