ADE 2016 review

We mull over the histrionics at this years Amsterdam Dance Event, with the thoughts, music and passions of Dave Clarke, Maceo Plex and Eats Everything among the highlights.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 10th Nov 2016

Image: ADE

Amsterdam proved to be the centre of the dance music universe as the city embraced ravers, professionals and every other conceivable stakeholder in the culture for a week-long celebration of everything good and great about the scene - another edition of ADE.

What seems so remarkable about the conference is just how much it seems perfectly suited to Holland as a country. The benefits of it being hosted here are obvious, with Schiphol one of Europe's busiest and well-serviced airports and the Dutch mentality to celebrating dance music - the likes of Tiesto, Hardwell and Armin Van Buuren revered as pop stars - among the positivity the Netherlands radiates to the scene.


First night in Amsterdam for #ADE #AmsterdamDanceEvent

A photo posted by Skiddle (@skiddleuk) on

That dance music omnipresence was immediately obvious the second you arrive. Schiphol is always a great place to spot ADE bound DJs, but this year it was the promoters in full force. Don't Let Daddy Know had a merchandise stand as well as a huge billboard advert greeting us as our taxi snaked towards the metropolis, taking cues from a certain Balearic party island and making you feel instantly at home in a city where the rave was centre of attention.

Once we'd set up shop in Amsterdam and the endless procession of meetings started to begin, walking round the city it's an almost infectious feeling of involvement everywhere. Narrow, black ADE flags seem to hug every canal bridgeway, whilst the chatter in the streets seems to fill every silence.

The opening lecture focused mainly on the crisis gripping our scene here in the UK, with Dave Clarke helming a panel that included fabric's Andy Blackett, DJ agent Laetita Descouens, and Amsterdam night Czar Mirik Malan. 

Naturally the shadow of fabric loomed over the topic, with Malan's success at helping Holland celebrate night time culture cited alongside Germany's recent legislation enshrining dance music and Manchester Police's cooperation with WHP. It wasn't just Clarke, in typically spiky form, who mused over why London sadly has fallen behind.

From that point there was enough talks to get stuck into around a litany of topics. Production masterclasses with the Likes of Joris Voorn combined with thought-provoking discussions around the industry empowering women more and the recent recognition of the huge impact of mental health, adding a wellbeing focus amongst panels debating streaming and label politics.

Musically we were treated to a number of highlights across the few days we were there. The myriad of daytime and early evening events almost informal gatherings added to the sense of fun the city radiates during it all, not least Lil Louie Vega's set at Rush Hour records (above). 

The master at work shuffled through a a vinyl only offering of his trademark soulful house, peaking when his recent remix of Funkadelic's Kendrick Lamar bolstered 'Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You'. Eats Everything blasting out at red light radio was equally as fun.

The night though is really where this level of enjoyment and involvement comes into its own. Across the few days there was everything from Martin Garrix becoming the youngest ever world number one DJ, up to Dave Clarke's showcase of what electro really represents at, polar opposites musically but hugely representative of the inclusiveness ADE promotes within the music.

We were treated to sterling sets from Leon Vynehall at Percolate, Dense & Pika's rumbling sonics at Gashouder (during one of the many Awakenings parties) but perhaps the defining moment though came courtesy of Maceo Plex, who had a handful of appearances across the city but none more memorable than his four-hour set in the bicycle passage underneath the Rijksmuseum.

Not only was the location perfect proof of dance music's enduring ability to re-fashion spaces, but Plex himself was at his meteoric best as he tunnelled through the melodic house and techno which has become his signature over the years. In admisdt the thrusting grooves was his own edit of The Smiths 'How Soon Is Now', its jacksaw synths oscillating wildly with Morrisey's cut up vocals and Marr's grungey bass. 

In that instance plenty of what is exciting about electronic music seemed to be encapsulated - reinvention and originality via mass appeal - but overall how perfect dancefloor escapism really is. During a week where those invested in it met and planned the future, it was gripping to be reminded of why we're all drawn to it. 

Tickets are no longer available for this event