The Amsterdam Dance Event has been a part of my life for more than fifteen years. I attended the ADE for the first time in 2005 when I was the guide/editor for DanceMusic.About.Com (RIP). The experience blew me away with its massive variety of events, panels, workshops, and parties. In addition, their cutting-edge website enabled me to find and reach out to every industry person for meetings.
Walking into the home base at the Felix Meritis, my mind was blown with tables full of meetings and discussions. That first year, I think I stacked meetings every 30 minutes for three days straight. The reward was putting the website on the map, along with a bag full of CD promos (remember those?) and a Sidekick full of contacts.
The ADE quickly became an annual highlight. As the event grew larger each year, I was a DJ/journalist, spread my wings, and developed along with the movement. I built relationships with record labels, artists, producers, publicists, managers, and everyone else. Catching up with people was easy, whether at a meeting, a party, or bumping into them on Keizersgracht. As great as eMail and voice chats are, being present IRL makes a difference.
Fast forward to 2020, and the plague of COVID plague changed nightlife as we know it. Winter Music Conference 2020 was canceled. Clubs and festivals were shut down. Everyone was in quarantine. It was pretty bleak for everyone.
There’s something that we all intrinsically know – Dance Music brings people together. Quickly, DJs jumped onto platforms like Twitch, Mixcloud, and YouTube to entertain people. Artists performed live shows on Facebook and Instagram. Radio DJ roundtable calls morphed into group support Zoom chats. The community came together.
The Amsterdam Dance Event 2020 was remixed as an online event – re-envisioned panels with an interactive live stream. I attended several throughout the week and learned a lot.
Now we fast forward to October 2021, and the ADE is live again. While there are still restrictions and limits, Amsterdam is open to the world for industry sessions. I have decided not to attend in person this year, though I know that I am missing out on many things. The personal human connection is how the best professional relationships begin and grow over time. Who knows who I won’t bump into on 7 Street and what could have become of that meeting. What new sound or subgenre will I miss by not attending ADE? This is the professional version of FOMO. But there are too many variables in play for me to attend comfortably.
Missing the connections made at Amsterdam Dance Event for two years was detrimental. Even though we all exist online, it just isn’t the same as meeting in person. So I’m cautiously, hopefully gearing up for the ADE 2022. And I do hope to see you there.