A Global EDM Gathering on an Epic Scale
Dave Smith (left), on the birth of MIDI: “We wanted something simple, easy to implement, and free.” AUSTIN MAY have SXSW, Miami has the Winter Music Conference, but Amsterdam has ADE. The behemoth dance music festival, which launched in 1996 with 30 DJs in three venues, has grown into what is aguably the largest EDM event in the world. From October 16–20, 300,000 festivalgoers and industry pros gathered for five marathon days of performances and events featuring 2,156 artists in more than 100 spots across the city.
Activity runs 24/7 at ADE: All- nighter showcases were held in venues ranging from small clubs to major venues such as the Heineken Music hall and the 17,000-seat Ziggo Dome. All EDM genres were represented, from deep house to techno to progressive; headliners included Tiësto, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren, Fedde Le Grand, Pete Tong, David Guetta, and Paul Oakenfold, to name a handful.
During the day, while festivalgoers recharged their batteries and checked out the various pop-up film, art, and retail events around town, more than 5,000 producers, musicians, label execs, and tech leaders took part in 300 conference sessions, featuring talks by Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder, Bob Lefsetz, and Dave Smith, and Q&As with DJs including Armin van Buuren, Tiësto, Richie Hawtin, and Hardwell.
Six panel tracks offered a range of content, from the evolution of DJ technology to PR and management to staging design, with a dedicated track for students and a new Green track, focusing on sustainability. Across town, Native Instruments, Waves, Ableton, Pioneer, Novation, Sonos, and other technology companies hosted all-day “playgrounds” featuring production seminars and hands-on demos geared toward both pros and beginners.
Here are a few of our favorite moments from ADE.
Waves held a four-day Art of the Mix series at Amsterdam hotspot Jimmy Woo.
The Native Instruments Playground included Traktor and Maschine workshops.
Microsoft’s Kyle Hopkins on securing videogame syncs: “There are fewer substantial game titles and fewer in-game syncs, but more marketing spots, a lot more sync opportunities.”
Richie Hawtin on going green on tour: “The first thing to do is be aware, make small changes. I used to leave the house and leave all my machines on. Now, I don’t do that. Go from everyday life, and see where it makes sense to make a
Festivalgoers check out gear at the Pioneer DJ Playground at the Amsterdam View.Nile Rodgers shared the number one lesson he learned about music from one of his early teachers, after he expressed his disdain for pop: “What the f*ck makes you think you are the ultimate consumer? Any record that sells one million copies is great. What makes you think those one million people are wrong and you are right?”