Kevin Saunderson ponders 20 years of house and 44 years of his cuticles
Relaxed business, club-busting parties, nuggets of knowledge and an earful of new beats: The Amsterdam Dance Event was back in full effect last week, ready for its 13th year. The event, which combines both a business conference and a music festival, connects the city on the water to the rest of the world in style. Sure, there's no beach (close by) and this year there was more rain than sun, yet the event attracted more than 700 DJs/acts, 44 venues, 2,000 conference delegates, heavyweight panelists, and an estimated festival audience of 90,000. As Richard Zijlma, general manager of ADE told us afterwards, "The only difficult [thing] was [that] we had to refuse people from all over the world to the conference because it was simply totally sold out!"
That conference side, in 2007, expand from the beautiful Felix Meritis building with no loss of intimacy to a secondary location, the Dylan Hotel, just a few doors down. The duality continued this year, and ADE even started a day earlier to spread the load. However, the Felix was still often packed, at times to capacity. Just as well then that it had had a facelift; the mildew was a distant memory, and everything seemed lighter and brighter.
Without thinking ahead, trying to decide what to see and do during ADE is a constant struggle, especially if you come to mix business with pleasure. But with some kind of plan, comfortable shoes and the determination of an Olympic athlete, on steroids, anything is possible—even those stairs in the Felix, which could have been designed by MC Escher.
Meanwhile, beyond the conference, Amsterdam's labyrinth of canals, cafes and clubs unfolds like an adventure playground for creatives of all creeds, whether you're seeking a renaissance, a revolution, techno or trance. Party-wise, though, it's not always about planning. Stumbling around the city at 4 AM can lead you to all kinds of places, some great, others not so...
RA opted for a staple diet of techno and house, with some space disco thrown in for added flavour. And, as you can see from the pictures below, this turned out to be a lot of fun and an inspirational brew, so thanks to everyone who allowed us to stumble through!
Photos: Ovum with Josh Wink & Steve Bug
Photo gallery: Long Evening
Photo gallery: A Critical Mass
Photo gallery: 100% Pure / Intacto / Remote Area
Photo gallery: A Space Disco Inferno
Photo credits: Lisa Local / Nik Torrens / Merlijn Hoek