ADE2018 - Rotationz Review by Pedro Mercado

Every year the conclusion about the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is the same: ADE 2018 was again thé best week of the year in my life as a DJ, producer, labelmanager, electronic music lover & professional raver!

The 23rd edition of the Amsterdam Dance Event has come to an end in the early hours of Monday morning 22th of October. For the first time ADE welcomed over 400,000 visitors from more than 100 countries for an extensive day and night program featuring over 1000 events and leading artists and speakers from around the world. From 17 to 21 October there were more than 450 night and 600 daytime events spread over 200 locations, with over 2500 performing artists and around 600 speakers participating in keynotes, workshops and master classes on a variety of topics. The conference and festival program by day saw an increase in numbers attending with daytime activities exceeding more than 600. ADE General Manager Richard Zijlma looks back on a ‘fantastic edition’. This was the last edition under his supervision, with new director Mariana Sanchotene taking over.

A major focus was the anniversary of 30 years of Dutch Dance. Celebrations included the premiere of a three-part VPRO documentary and the launch/presentation of a reference book featuring the scene’s leading lights. South Korea was the focus country this year, consequently much attention was paid to the rapidly growing South Korean music scene. Several conference and festival events illustrated that musically and culturally South Korea has a lot to offer the rest of the world. Other countries highlighted as one to watch were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Columbia and Mexico, with special industry network sessions and a growing number of artists performing in the day- and night-time program.

ADE has grown into a five-day poly-cultural event hosting more than 2500 music artists across all participating clubs and concert halls. Undoubtedly the biggest electronic music conference in the world, ADE hosted a myriad of events from countless panels discussions at the main conference through to pop-up performances, audiovisual installations, film screenings, tech schools and charity events. Some of the diverse and exciting speakers involved in this year’s conference program included; Albert van Abbe, Bonobo, Bruce Carbone, David Guetta, Headhunterz, Imogen Heap, Jayda G, Jean Michel Jarre, Jillionaire, Kerry Trainor, Lena Willikens, Nile Rodgers, Orbital, Paula Temple, Ralph Echemendia a.k.a. The Ethical Hacker, Yann Pissenem, Xosar, Zoe Margolis, and more.

In my review I’ll give you an overview of some panels, debates, lectures,... I attended and some showcases, parties, afterparties, raves, etc I did. That's really the best way I think to show you that the possibilities and opportunities at ADE are endless and amazing.

Tuesday 16/10/2018 – Day 0:

Just like last year ADE started one day earlier for me because I hosted again my own Chrom Recordings label showcase already on Tuesday at the legendary Club NL, a sort of unofficial ADE Kick Off party. There were already a lot of people in town and we had a great night, thx to my artists (The Note V, Fernando Lagreca, Techno Frühstück aka Acado, Dast & Dylan, Kris Adrian, #TheMachines) and everybody who came down!

Wednesday 17/10/2018 – Day 1:

A typical day at ADE for me starts at the Conference for networking with other people from the music industry. Just like last year the location of the Conference was the DeLaMar Theater, offering various network & business lounges as a place where you can meet in a relaxed atmosphere for networking and business opportunities. After my label party of the night before I took it easy, just checked out the venue while enjoying the general atmosphere and had a few interesting meetings with some other delegates.

After the Conference it’s time for my favourite thing: the pre-party at one of the many bars around Leidseplein or Rembrandtplein which all host great label showcases during ADE. Most of them are free, you can still network but in a more relaxed atmosphere and it's perfect to get you in the right party mood for the night. Choice of the evening is the Sincopat Showcase at the lovely cocktail Bar Feijoa. Tasty cocktails and free entrance, a quality pre-night with some amazing dj’s behind the booth: AFFKT, Audio Junkies, Just Her, Mattia Pompeo, Fernando Lagreca,... After the cocktails it’s time to move to the next label showcase: back at Club NL, this time for the Asymmetric & Beat Boutique Showcase. Also here a very strong line-up: Lonya, DJ Zombi, Marc DePulse, Ron Flatter, Subandrio, Vazik,...

Thursday 18/10/2018 – Day 2:

After a few hours of sleep everybody heads again to the Conference during the day. Some very interesting panels today. First of all a keynote at the DeLaMar Theater on the Electronic Music Industry in Mexico, followed by a networking session attended by many of the key players, DJs, producers, artists, label executives, promoters, technology entrepreneurs, managers, agents, publicists, journalists and club owners in the Mexican dance industry. Also at DeLaMar a Keynote Interview with SoundCloud's CEO Kerry Trainor for his first ADE appearance. Kerry discussed the vision and future of SoundCloud, the integral role of the electronic and dance community on the platform, and shared some exciting new developments for DJs, live from the ADE stage. In the ADE Festival Hangout at Nes there was an interesting panel on “How to Start Your Own Label” wich was free entrance for ADE Card holders.

After the panels, it's finally time for some music: we headed to the Indeep'n'dance Records Store for a Snatch! Records Showcase with Riva Starr, Matt Tolfrey, Upercent & special guest Todd Terry. As we were now completely warmed up for a proper rave, we went to my favourite Amsterdam venue: WesterUnie. Tonight Amsterdam promotor Pleinvrees presented Hungry Music x Weiter. Hungry music filled the main room with live acts only: Worakls, N'TO, Joachim Pastor & Stereoclip! In the second room Amsterdam legend Olivier Weiter presented Nakadia, Henry Saiz, Miss Melera, Artbat (who played an amazing set), Rafael Cerato, Alex Preda, Mees Salomé, Mohn,...

Friday 19/10/2018 – Day 3:

On Friday the country focus was on my own country: Belgium, one of the Netherlands’ closest geographical neighbours. Contrary to the other country keynotes and networking sessions, Belgium’s feature moment did not take place at the DeLaMar because Belgium was already well represented during this years ADE. In the form of the Vlaams Cultuurhuis de Brakke Grond, whose music crew this year teamed up with Poppunt, Sabam for Culture and Belgium Booms, created a unified Belgian presence at ADE. Their artistic focus was on Brussels, but as part of ADE Pro they made room for the entire Belgian sector. Alongside significant electronic landmarks like Tomorrowland, Fuse Brussels and Dour Festival, Belgium is also home to acts that are crossing the globe and becoming ADE regulars - representing every possible inch of the electronic spectrum - these include Charlotte de Witte, Peter van Hoesen, Amelie Lens, Netsky, Soulwax, Lost Frequencies, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tom Hades, San Soda, Lefto and many, many more. Linked to the Belgium country focus, in the afternoon I did a special ADE livestream for Tibbaa Belgium, a reinventing Ticketing System.

Warmed up by my livestream session, I headed straight to Club NL where D-Formation presented his This Is Beatfreak Showcase, an event with invitation only, which started already at 17:00 H in the afternoon. The line-up was impressive: D-Formation, Betoko, Darin Epsilon, EdOne, Haze-M, Javier Gonzalez, Kintar, Marc DePulse, Oscar L & Wally Lopez !!! Easy to say that Club NL was definitely one of thé hot spots of this years ADE!

At midnight I went to the free presentation of a very exciting new festival in Mexico: “Esto es Tulum (EET)”. “This is Tulum” is a Mexican festival that combines nature, music, art, gastronomy, experiences, workshops and culture in an impressive natural setting located in Tulum. The Festival will take place at the stunning location Cenote Tortuga! A few steps from the Caribbean Sea and in harmony with nature, Tulum has the necessary infrastructure to cater to the most demanding tourists with a hotel capacity of almost 32.000 rooms in Playa del Carmen & 8.000 more in Tulum, in addition to international attractions such as Cirque du Soleil and theme parks like Xcaret. This Festival is founded by Mexican Businessmen and DJs and was born with the intention of bringing the essence of the experience represented by Tulum to the best stages around the world. In its first year EET will present showcases integrated by Mexican DJs in Ibiza, Greece, France, Dubai and Miami and so today also in Amsterdam especially for ADE with performances by 13:20 LIVE, Danito & Athina, Javier Gonzalez, Kintar, Paax Tulum, Space Motion,... After this exciting EET showcase, we continued the night with another Mexican party: the Sounds of Earth label Showcase, in a very special underground location: VLLA.

And if you are still in the mood for more, like me tonight, you can continue in the weekend at one of the many ADE after-parties. This time I decided to check out De School (the successor of the famous Club Trouw), one of the most legendary after clubs in Amsterdam, and even in the world. De School presented “Het Weekend”, an epic 60-hour rave marathon, with a wink to their big brother Berghain in Berlin, which started on Friday evening and would end on Monday morning. Must say, De School was a really nice experience!

Saturday 20/10/2018 – Day 4:

On Saturday no more Conference at the DeLaMar, but still enough network events spread over the city. For example there was the Proton Social: the 6th annual convergence of Proton Artists, DJs, Label Managers, and Crew at the Amsterdam Dance Event. But I went to a 50:HERTZ (a very known Techno Radio Show & Social Platform in Amsterdam) knowledge sharing session held at the exclusive 6-star Hotel TwentySeven. On the program was Paul Nolan Masterclass "The sound of progressive Techno", Agent Orange Dj Masterclass "Grandtheft Techno" and Techno Talks with Kevin de Vries & Olivier Weiter, followed by a Networking Bash & Cocktails.

And then it’s time again for a proper rave: back to WesterUnie for the Pleinvrees ADE Closing with Stil vor Talent x Andhim's Superfriends. At least that's what we thought... When we arrived a bit after midnight, we got refused at the door with our ADE All Access Pass. Reason: capacity full, and already to many ADE delegates with a wristband inside according to the door staff....

Luckily there is a spectacular venue nextdoors to WesterUnie: Gashouder where we had no problem at all to enter with our wristbands. Gashouder means Awakenings, tonight hosted by Joseph Capriati, presenting the legendary Laurent Garnier for the first time at Awakenings in the Gashouder! I have always been a big fan of Garnier as a producer but not really as a DJ, but this time he convinced me big time, must have been the best set I ever heard from him.

Sunday 21/10/2018 – Day 5:

After some proper sleep (finally!) I was ready for my last network event of this ADE: “New Era” presented by Trontronic Entertainment & Tone Artistry, supported by 50:HERTZ, at the Hush Silent Disco Club. I liked this concept a lot and I met really a lot of interesting people, this was really nice!

But so far the networking for me, finally time to really relax and enjoy my last night out. At least that's what I thought. In the evening we headed again to club WesterUnie to enjoy the last hours of The Gardens of Babylon. But you can already guess what happened I think: again we got refused at the door with our wristband. Again same reason: full is full. But this time it was really ridiculous because the party was running at it's end. While we were discussing with the bouncers at the door, really a lot of people were leaving the party. Also many friends of me were inside confirming that the club was getting empty. When I tried to explain this to the bouncers they really became aggressive and forced us to leave. So that's the downside of this years ADE: the all access pass which costs a lot of money, did not work properly, so this is something they really have to sort out by next year!

So we went again nextdoors to Awakenings where it was again no problem at all to enter with the ADE wristband. On their last night Awakenings invited Ben Klock to present his Photon concept. We watched an interesting modular live act from Colin Benders but when LSD (Luke Slater, Steve Bicknell and Function) took over the music went really too hard for me personally. So we decided to end our ADE where we started it already on Tuesday with my own Chrom label showcase: at Club NL for the Selador Official ADE Closing Party. And it seemed like many of the nice people I had met during this insane week had the same idea, this was definitely the best way to end the best party week of the year in a fantastic city!


* Official ADE'18 Radio Review by Pedro Mercado (Dutch spoken, Rotationz Radio Show, Topradio FM, live, 04/11/2018):

* Offical ADE'18 Press Review, written by Pedro Mercado for Rotationz:

* EXTRA: Chrom Recordings ADE Showcase @ Club NL, live recorded:

* For a visual overview of the best things that took place at ADE 2018 look at the website here:

* If you missed it watch the Electronic Music Gathers Here video:

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