honest guide to ADE

My first ADE(Amsterdam Dance Event)

There is always something to be learned from attending a music event especially one as large as the Amsterdam dance event. After attending my first ADE (Amsterdam dance event) there were quite a few things I learned, but for this post, I will keep it nice and simple so hopefully, you can plan your visit with some extra insight.

I suppose I should first tell you what ADE is.  ADE obviously stands for the Amsterdam Dance Event an annual music conference and festival held in non-other than Amsterdam in mid-October every year. It is one of the largest electronic music events in the world. The population of Amsterdam grows by about 50% in the five days that in which ADE is held. There were about 380,000 visitors for this year’s event.

ADE comprises a mix of talks, conferences, and workshops mixed alongside hundreds of music events throughout the city. These range from tiny intimate shows with only a few hundred in attendance to large-scale shows that you would see in your typical music festival. Just like Tomorrowland, every genre of electronic music is catered for.

A few things I learned from attending my first ADE (Amsterdam Dance event):

Plan accordingly:

ADE (Amsterdam dance event)
Credit: Jovanni Alex

This event is huge and encapsulates the entire city, so planning is very important. This being my first ADE I made a few mistakes with this. Only when I arrived did I realize the enormity of the event and the number of incredible shows I wanted to see. A little more research would have given me this information before I’d arrived.  Check out the schedule (Announcements start around June) before you go and while you’re there, events are added all the time with some pretty cool shows for free and events that might be much closer to you than you think.

I had tickets for two shows and bought one more while I was there, but I could have easily gone to many of the hundreds more. While your there and afterward you will hear of tons more shows that you missed.

If you have the time and money, buy a pass for the entire week. It saves you a lot of time and makes creating a schedule a hell of a lot easier.

Pace yourself:

ADE (Amsterdam dance event)
Credit: Jovanni Alex

ADE is truly a marathon and not a sprint. This I realized with some difficulty after attending my first day.

My first day at ADE went something like this.

  • 4.00am-10am: Wake up and fly from Dublin to Amsterdam,
  • 10am-12.00pm: Finally find my accommodation after realizing I’ve made another error with its location.
  • 12.00pm-2.00pm: Unpack, find a tiny sandwich to eat and get ready to go out.
  • 2.00pm-7.00pm: Travel into the city, find my friends, Pre(session-game-party).
  • 7.00pm-10.00pm: Party at the Gashouder and lose my friends in the crowd.
  • 10.00pm-2.00am: Maybe a little later, wander around Amsterdam aimlessly.

I understand for most people their schedule would probably look a little more organized, but this can give you an idea of how hectic it can be without planning (and a little too much alcohol). Eating, drinking water and resting for a little bit are three key areas that I missed throughout the whole day. This will make your next day a little more difficult.

Take a break from dancing, there are plenty of rest areas, drink water and get some food into you. It always seems like a good idea to not stop the party, but taking a break will allow you to continue and hold onto your health.

Join the groups and meetups:

ADE (Amsterdam dance event)
Credit: Kristiann

This is especially for those going solo like me. There are plenty of Facebook groups, search for them and see what they are up to. People in these groups set up meetups for different events, notified people of ticket sales and free pop up events and simply allowed people to communicate with one another so a bunch of strangers could become friends.

This was the first music event I attended solo and in a different country. I’ve been to plenty of parties. But not solo, these groups made it pretty easy to feel at ease going once you realized you weren’t the only one. If your traveling solo to ADE don’t worry, there will be people to meet up with. I got lucky and met some friends the first day while on the second day I went with people from my hostel, eventually, we partied with some English guys and I left the last party with some Scottish people. Next year I will make sure to go to one of the more organized meetups, Going to your first ADE is fine, but having a group to party with is always so much better.

Help each other out:

Just like what the groups were designed for. This is true for any event, but especially one in a huge and sometimes confusing city like Amsterdam. It takes nothing to help someone out for a few minutes, giving directions, a bottle of water or a hug can make a big difference after two days of dancing. It also makes for some brilliant and funny stories after the event is finished. Remembering the random people you danced with for hours or the people who helped you when you needed it make these events all the more fun. It’s these memories that people remember long after the music is finished, it’s probably not something you should learn after attending ADE but something you should bring with you to add to the fun.

Most Importantly: tell people where the best parties are so they can join you.

A few other things from my first ADE:

Transport:

  • The city can be a maze.
  • Ask locals for help
  • The trams are fast and efficient.
  • Uber is a life saver taxis drivers are pretty nice
  • The ferry is free.

Lockers:

  • All of the major events have lockers.
  • Use them.

Charge your electronics:

  • You can’t do this inside most the events.

Security:

  • Bring I.D
  • E-tickets work just fine.

Get planning for next year.


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