Amsterdam Dance Event successfully delivered the 2023 edition of the annual festival-conference, with this year seeing a record breaking 500,000 visitors descend upon the Dutch capitol for the annual festival-conference that attracts both dance music industry professionals and enthusiasts alike, with nearly 3000 artists and speakers take the stage while occupying over 1000 venues across the city.
Every year new themes and trends rise to the forefront of discussion. This year, as in all sectors of the music and entertainment industries, application of Artificial Intelligence was a major focus of this year's topics and panels with the industries leaders in tech and digital. Beyond this we saw additional initiatives and industry figures step forward surrounding topics of inclusion and diversity, as well as further explored themes of mindfullness, developments in social media and more.
ADE showcases a wide breadth of international dance music across the 5 days of its festival programming. Annualy, event organizers plan and execute some of their most impactful events of the year whether that be a large scale stadium show, or intimate showcases that provide rare opportunites to see popular acts perform to cozy crowds. This year we sadly saw the unique De School prepare to close its doors, wrapping up their last week of annual ADE programming. We also saw unlikely struggles for new venues such as the anticipated queer event space RAUM, who has faced challenges opening their doors that contrast general attitudes across the Amsterdam clubbing landscape.
Read below for some insight into some of the strongest presences who delivered power-player level, unique, exciting, thoughtful and impactful events, panels or ideas to the Amsterdam Dance Event lanscape this year.
The shesaid.so community consists of women and gender nonconforming people from all sectors of the music industry: from record labels, artist management companies, and booking agencies, through to technology platforms, creative agencies, composers, artists and more. This year the organization officially re-launced their Amsterdam chapter, reignited by music industry veterans, and senior FUGA staff, Melissa d’Engelbronner and Connie Chow.
At ADE this year the collective facilitated a jam-packed program that included a full-day conference as part of the shesaid.so space in partnership with ADE Lab. The programmiong featuring talents such as Kelli-Leigh, DESIREE, Barbara Tucker and Louie Vega. shesaid.so has been working with ADE since 2017 with a focus on programming around diversity and inclusion in the music industry and a mentoring program that paired senior-level members from the shesaid.so community with mentees selected by ADE Lab. This year their “we.grow at ADE” mentoring program connected 40 mentees and mentors who work at companies such as Atlantic Records, Meta, TikTok, M&C Saatchi, and Ultra Publishing. Finally, the group held a celebration surrounding the official relaunch of the shesaid.so Amsterdam chapter.
You can read more about shesaid.so' recently relaunched Amsterdam chapter here.
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Cercle & W Amsterdam
French event organizers Cercle, who are revered for their shoots of dance music events at some of the most unique locations in the world, brought their first official activation to ADE this year in collaboration with W Hotels to bring 4 days of day and night programming to W Amsterdam. The Cercle x W ADE debut featured daytime panels with marquee participants like Gordo, Dixon, Mochakk, Indira Paganotto and more for conversations that spanned mindfulness, social media, and the connection of music and gastronomy.
A collective of both emerging and globally revered artists converged between performances at W Amsterdam to host a variety of panels filled with interactive artistic discourse that provides an insider perspective on the music industry’s path forward. Across the week, W Hotels and Cercle hosted intimate and exclusively curated nighttime music experiences, with sets from top talent including Cassian, EYNKA, Matisa, Mind Against, Chloé Caillet, LP Giobbi and more.
This year Awakenings hosted 9 events throughout ADE, which took place at mainstay Amsterdam venues Gashouder and the infamous Ziggo Dome. Booking marquee events such as Amelie Lens' Exhale production, Adriatique's X, 999999999 Presents, as well as thoughtfully programmed Awakenings by-day and by-night events, the organizers continued to fortify their reputation for facilitating some of ADE's premier experiences of the week.
For the first time, Awakenings also hosted daytime workout sessions for charity in Gashouder during ADE in partnership with Saints & Stars. The entire proceeds went to the Johan Cruyff Foundation, an organization dedicated to making sports accessible for children and young people who might not have easy access to it.
2023 has been a milestone year for Dutch techno and house event brand Awakenings – who kicked the year off with a New Years party in the Gashouder, Awakenings Eindhoven, their traditional Easter shows in the Gashouder, and Awakenings Spring Festival at our Holy Grounds in Spaarnwoude. Over the summer Awakenings celebrated the second edition of their camping festival with the Awakenings Summer Festival. Their next series of events will take place around New Years Eve with 4 events across 4 days.
Audio Obscura celebrated 10 years this year of delvering thoughtfully curated dance music events to unique locations in Amsterdam. This year they hosted 8 events across ADE between the industrial RAW Factory and infamous, intimate and luxurious space The Loft. Artists played their events such as Mathame, Cassian, Øostil, Adriatique and more.
Over the past decade they’ve organized events at unique locations across Amsterdam such as het Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Centraal Station, the G-Star RAW Headquarters, A’DAM Tower’s The Loft, Gashouder, and Muziekgebouw, featuring artists such as Adriatique, Peggy Gou, Underworld, Charlotte de Witte, Joris Voorn, Solomun, and many more. Organizers have continued their mission to delivering these unique experiences, while only becoming more detial orienced along the way. Looking toward the future, Audio Obscura looks to go beyond Amsterdam borders, and even Dutch borders, truly establishing the Audio Obscura name on an international level.
Charlotte De Witte
This year Charlotte de Witte created her very own pop-up nightclub at ADE called the KNTXT Turbo Club. With one night featuring an all-night journey weaved together by the acclaimed techno titan, she also invited artists including Chris Leibing, Acid Asian, ONYVAA, and more – to create a 3-night only curated KNTXT experience.
By day, the venue was transformed into the CHARLOTADA, a community hangout with a laid back vibe with a specially curated menu of tacos and tequila. Best known for her “dark and stripped-back” brand of techno and crossover to other sounds of the underground, Charlotte de Witte continues to push the boundaries of the electronic genre and escalate the level of experience she provides to her fans by way of her events around the world.
Beatport took center stage at ADE this year with Helen Sartory, SVP of Creator Services, offering valuable insights into the platform's curation process. During a panel discussion, Sartory explained that Beatport collaborates closely with distributors, who provide weekly priority lists of tracks for the curation team's attention. Notably, she highlighted Beatport's commitment to listening to every track on the priority list and emphasized that artists don't face specific requirements based on social following or revenue for platform placement. This commitment to inclusivity aligns with ADE's broader discussions, including Chief Community Officer Sofia Ilyas addressing barriers in education and recruitment, and Verity Mayes contributing to a roundtable on gender disparity in music.
To close out the week, Beatport hosted an intimate penthouse party with Mochakk for 10 of his biggest fans, where the DJ utilized Beatport’s brand new StreamingDirectPlay software, which incorporates Beatport Streaming directly into CDJ-3000s. Beatport's diverse involvement at ADE highlights its commitment to nurturing an inclusive and accessible electronic music environment.
Splice kicked off the month of October by announcing Create, a groundbreaking AI experience that can generate sophisticated musical arrangements in seconds utilizing their industry-leading sounds catalog. The future-forward company brought Create to ADE this year, showcasing the exciting new product at the ADE Lab to hundreds of eager attendees looking to jumpstart their creative process.
Through two captivating panels, “Creative Evolution: Musicality in the Age of AI,” and “Can Producers and AI Really Co-Exist?” Dani DiCiaccio, Splice’s VP of Content, and Jay Pulman (aka Capsun), Splice Creative Director, discussed the transformative intersection between human creativity and machine intelligence, and what the future could look like for music producers of all kinds.
The Circuit Group
The Circuit Group, an enterprise founded by industry veterans Dean and Jessica Wilson from artist management companies Seven20 and AYITA, made a significant impact at this year's conference. Dean's keynote, titled "A New Kind of Independence," and Jessica's panel discussion, "VC Money and The Gender Gap: Why do Female-led Start-Ups Get Left Out?" addressed crucial topics of artist independence and gender equity in the music industry. With a focus on acquiring 50% ownership in artists' IP portfolios and fostering partnerships to explore various verticals in the music business, The Circuit Group aims to empower artists by giving them control and a platform. The group's emphasis on the transformative potential of prioritizing artist independence and equity aligns with ADE's broader themes, emphasizing the centrality of the song in driving positive impact within the music business.
The Seven20 and AYITA joint venture closed out their ADE with a massively attended mixer, which featured DJ performances from Camden Cox and Lily McKenzie.