ADE Announces 2020 Virtual Conference With First Speakers

Conferences around the globe have either been postponed, cancelled or moved online. Now we have the official news of what’s happening with ADE. The event which has grown into the world’s largest and most influential club-based festival and conference for electronic dance music. The event has continued to grow and develop each year, with last year’s edition featuring over 2,500 artists and 600 speakers in almost 200 venues in doing so attracting visitors from over 146 countries. Given the current climate it’s obvious this would present a major risk to the city of Amsterdam and those who’d attend.

It was set to be the 25th-anniversary edition of ADE and their plans were to be the biggest celebration of electronic music yet. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been obliged to ensure the safety of its 400,000 international visitors by shifting its conference program to an online-first environment alongside a select number of Covid-proof seated concerts and cross-cultural projects under the ADE Specials banner, set to take place in Amsterdam in close coordination with the city council.

Taking place on it’s original dates between October 21-25, the virtual ADE Pro conference has been revealed with a number of differences to it’s format which usually brings in hundreds of thousands of industry members and spectators to events, panels and workshops held in locations sprawled across the city.

The latest announcement by the Dutch government affecting clubs and nightlife is another blow for the industry, says co-director Jan-Willem van de Ven: “Clubs and music venues form the backbone of Amsterdam’s nightlife and are incredibly important in shaping and innovating the cultural identity of the city, its inhabitants and visitors alike. Without them, electronic music loses an integral part of its culture and industry and therefore needs all support from the government.” 

Photo: Tim Buiting

However despite the ongoing pandemic, ADE co-director Meindert Kennis is confident the leading electronic conference can continue to provide a leading industry platform for artists and industry professionals around the world. “Creating a digital alternative of ADE’s annual industry gathering in Amsterdam was quite a puzzle because we needed to represent not just a conference program, but meaningful connections between visitors as well. Whereas other digital conferences offer a one-off knowledge sharing event, we wanted to embrace the challenge of investing in a sustainable social platform that provides real value throughout the year for music industry professionals globally.”

Some of the first confirmed ADE Pro digital conference highlights include Grammy award-winning artist James Blake in conversation with mental health expert Jennie Morton, and an in-depth workshop on music clearance by Deborah Mannis-Gardner, as well as panels talks and interviews with Bandcamp’s Aly Gillani, VFX specialist Angelo WhiteVEVO’s Claudia de Wolff, BBC Radio 1 DJ Jaguar and music industry entrepreneur Merck Mercuriadis. 


The full ADE 2020 Digital Pro Virtual conference will not be free, purchasing a pass grants access to the entire conference program as well as a year-long subscription to its social media platform and a hefty discount for those who wish to attend next year’s edition, it’s available here for €75. The organisation will however provide a free online platform that hosts a variety of digital content including DJ sets, artist talks, studio tours, masterclasses alongside an art & film program.

In terms of the live aspect, the first participating venues under the Covid-proof ADE Specials banner to take place throughout Amsterdam include some of the festivals usual hotspots, Bimhuis, Concertgebouw, Melkweg, Paradiso and Paradiso Noord, with more to be revealed in coming weeks.

News about ADE 2020’s offering and program, including confirmed artists and news about its virtual efforts, will follow soon.

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