The vibrant tapestry of electronic music culture came alive once again in Amsterdam as the city hosted the 28th edition of the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), a global celebration of all things electronic dance music. With over 2,900 artists performing across a staggering 1,000 events and initiatives at over 200 venues, ADE 2023 attracted a record-breaking 500,000 visitors from over 150 countries, further solidifying its position as the world’s most influential breeding ground for electronic music talent.
Across its Festival and Arts & Culture programs, ADE 2023 presented a diverse and inclusive showcase of electronic music subgenres, live performances, and cultural crossovers. From pulsating techno beats to soulful house grooves and experimental avant-garde sounds, the event delivered an eclectic mix to cater to every taste and preference.
The festival’s commitment to inclusivity extended beyond the music, with a focus on welcoming attendees from all backgrounds and fostering a sense of community. ADE’s unique blend of cutting-edge music, artistic exploration, and global networking has made it a pilgrimage for electronic music enthusiasts worldwide, and ADE 2023 served as a resounding testament to its enduring appeal.
ADE Pro 2023 brought together industry leaders from Google, TuneCore, Spotify, Beatport, and more to delve into the latest trends in music technology, from artificial intelligence to streaming, offering valuable insights to its attendees.
The event also marked the launch of the ADE Startups program, a year-long mentorship and development initiative designed to nurture and empower music startups and international event organizers.
Through these initiatives, ADE Pro 2023 solidified its position as a leading platform for fostering innovation and growth within the global music industry.
Throughout the week, I personally attended a number of panels, mixers and events and met many people. Below are some highlights throughout the week, if they are being held again in 2024, you should certainly try to attend!
Cercle x W Hotel
Cercle took their team and event series to ADE, teaming up with W Hotel. The partnership brings together Cercle’s expertise in filming and broadcasting live music performances from iconic locations with W Amsterdam’s stylish and vibrant setting. In addition to the live music events, Cercle and W Amsterdam will also collaborate on a series of other initiatives, such as artist interviews and behind-the-scenes content. These initiatives will give fans a deeper understanding of the electronic music scene and the creative process behind the music.
There was 14 different events held throughout the week, during the day and into the night. It was a terrific experience, entering the W and seeing and hearing about electronic music from some of the best. With sets from the likes of Cassian, LP Giobbi, Mind Against and Gordo, they certainly didn’t lack in the artist department.
Taking place at the Thuishaven venue in Western Amsterdam, Mau P played a staggering 6-hour open-to-close set, making for a very unique experience. The music was incredible, a mix of classic house beats and his own originals and edits – the set was exceptional. The venue certainly stands out due to its heavy industrial look and really took the event to a new level.
The energy in the venue was palpable, and it was clear that everyone was having a great time.Mau P’s ADE set was a testament to his talent and his ability to connect with a crowd. He is a rising star in the electronic music scene, and he is sure to be a major player for many years to come.
Taking place at the terrific venue Melkweg again, Monstercat brought out a range of talents across the label. Across two stages, artists such as Blanke, Muzz, ShockOne, Adventure Club played, all the way until 7am. There was a lot of energy felt throughout the busy rooms. Being a North American label, the sound showcased a lot of bass, dubstep and drum and bass – which was a rarer sight during ADE. Monstercat always deliver exceptional events and their venture at ADE was no different.
On Thursday, I was able to visit the Armada offices, where the ASOT studio is. Being in the studio for a live recording was a treat, to see how it is done behind the scenes. Being in the room with the hosts, the employees and a select number of fans was terrific. A State Of Trance brings in a number of guest artists to do a concise set and interview, slowly going through over 20 artists across 10 hours. It was a great experience as a trance fan and if anyone has the opportunity they should jump at it.
Where do you start with Martin Garrix’s ADE show? The Dutch superstar held two events, an 18+ that ran into the early hours of the morning – as well as an all-ages experience that was held in the evening the day after. Both dates were packed in the 10k+ RAI venue, making for a great crowd.
The atmosphere at RAI Amsterdam was electric as the crowd eagerly awaited Martin Garrix’s arrival. The moment he stepped onto the stage, a roar of applause erupted, and the venue transformed into a sea of dancing bodies. Garrix wasted no time in igniting the energy, launching into a high-octane set that seamlessly blended his own chart-topping hits with popular remixes and genre-bending tracks.
The production was on another level, the Garrix team put in a lot of time into these flagship events and it shows. From lasers to visuals, everything was exceptional and it was clear many attendees were in awe. Whilst Garrix can definitely put on a great show musically, the visuals almost were as important as the music at this event.
Claptone was simply fantastic. The enigmatic German DJ and producer, returned to Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 2023 with his signature blend of dark, soulful house music and theatrical flair. His Masquerade event at AFAS Live on October 20th, 2023, was a captivating spectacle, transporting the audience into a realm of mystery and dancefloor euphoria. The crowd, dressed in their finest masquerade attire with theatrical props, stayed for hours and hours.
The lineup was of note, having Danny Howard, Nora En Pure, Sonny Fodera and WADE on support duties. The venue was terrific, making for what seemed like many thousands of people. Claptone’s Masquerade was one of the highlights of ADE and having seen what was attended above, means a lot!
Amsterdam Dance Event showcased its enormous scale in Johan Cruyff Arena, bringing together tens of thousands of fans for massive DJ sets and production from another world. The stage was extremely large, so large in fact it was difficult to see the DJ up there.
The occasion was undeniably remarkable, commencing with an exclusive DJ set by Like Mike, followed by performances from Purple Disco Machine, MEDUZA, and James Hype. Armin van Buuren reaffirmed his influential status, and Afrojack and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike maintained the energetic atmosphere with their impressive acts. Simultaneously, Charlotte de Witte captivated the audience with her signature techno beats, and R3HAB delivered an intense show. The renowned hardstyle producer Headhunterz brought the festival to a magnificent close, marking one of his final performances before retiring from DJing.
AMF strengthened its position as one of the biggest festivals in the world and did so with style. While the lineup could have been more adventurous, it’s understandable to book some of the key names in dance music.
As a hangover event of sorts, Awakenings finished off their impressive ADE event run with a Sunday event at the Gashouder. Featuring the likes of Kölsch, Mind Against, Keven De Vries and Stephan Bodzin, the lineup was just as good as the venue. The Gashouder is an incredible venue. It was an industrial gas houder over 100 years old, but since 2004 it has been reimagined into an event venue. Seeing these amazing acts in this stunning venue is a bucket list time and something that should be jumped at if the opportunity arises.
With another ADE done and dusted, the countdown for the recently announced 2024 dates; October 16-20, has begun. If you’re even contemplating attending ADE, you must. It is the best week for a fan of electronic music, whether or not you are involved in the business side or the fan side. Best to get looking at flights and accommodation now!