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Amsterdam, The Netherlands – This past Oct. 16-20, the 24th edition of Amsterdam Dance Event again became the gathering point for the globe’s DJ/electronic-music community.

By delivering over 1,000 events in more than 200 venues around the city, ADE 2019 drew more than 400,000 visitors from 146 countries – a record for the festival side of ADE. DJs from all genres – techno, trance, house, trap and more – played events day and night.

Additionally, for those looking to network and gain knowledge from the conference side of ADE, there was plenty to enjoy. With dozens of keynotes, panels and topical presentations at three different venues, conference highlights were many. Here’s a few:

During the “Riding the Wave of Technology with GAIA” on Oct. 16 at the DeLaMar Theater, the experimental electronic duo (trance titan Armin van Buuren and studio wiz Benno de Goeij) detailed its approach to live gigs and studio projects, like GAIA’s 2019 full-length Moons of Jupiter.

After Armin van Buuren expounded on his studio partner’s broad range of talents, including his ability to create wildly unique sounds for all manner of tracks, de Goeij broke it down to basics. “When you’re making this kind of electronic music, it goes beyond ability – you must be able to transfer technique into emotion,” he said. “And in a collaboration, you must always motivate each other.”

Armin van Buuren
Riding the Tech Wave: (from right) GAIA’s Benno de Goeij & Armin van Buuren.

To which van Buuren responded: “And we do. GAIA is a monument to our inspirations – from Jean-Michel Jarre to Speedy J. Some of the sounds may be too experimental for an Armin van Buuren track, but I believe the GAIA record is the best thing I ever did. There are no compromises – it’s from the heart, not the head.”

The same day at the same venue, the “Fabulous Festival Screw-Ups & What We Learnt from Them” panel featured some visual dollops of festival-disaster porn, including a pair of notable 2017 failures – Tomorrowland stage fire in Barcelona and Fyre Fest’s fraud-filled fiasco in The Bahamas.

After the panel of international promoters detailed a variety of other technical blunders and weather-related horrors, Michael Christidis of Australia’s Beyond the Valley explained how his festival had to confront fans of festival fence-jumpers/gate-crashers who had organized via Facebook groups.

“Once our security caught some of them,” he recalls, “we offered them an opportunity to buy legitimate festival passes – at a premium price, of course. After all, we have to maintain some kind of deterrent to this sort of behavior.”

Amsterdam Dance Event

On Oct. 17 at DeLaMar Theater, “Beyond Technology: Unleashing Your Inner Creativity to Master Your Full Potential” offered plenty of advice for music makers. Chart-topping producer/songwriter Fernando Garibay, perhaps best known for his extensive work with Lady Gaga, hit plenty of high points.

“If you want to improve, go outside your field and experience something different,” he said. “Look for mentors who challenge you. Set measures and create goals. Always repeat change – always repeat to grow… Find your center in a place you feel complete, write your own narrative and find how you can express it in your own way.”

In closing, Garibay offered a philosophical nugget: “At some point, I realized that, yes, I can make hit records – but who cares? Instead, I began to ask myself: How can I help people and scale it. See, we’re all wired for love, so I always ask: How can I be a better lover of mankind?”

Amsterdam Dance Event
Photo By Tiffany Konings

On Oct. 18 at De Brakke Grond, which also housed technology stands from brands like Pioneer DJ, Native Instruments, Roland and more, seminars were no less lively.

During “From Bedroom to Big Room,” U.K. DJ/producer Eats Everything (aka Daniel Pearce) explained how it took him 11 years of making music before his sounds gained traction in clubland. “You have to put in the time, by any means necessary,” he said, recalling years of bedroom production. “It’s the three P’s – patience, persistence, perseverance. All that time making music without too much notice actually put me in good stead.

“In the end, what I do is a good job, a fun job… but it’s not easy. Truth be told, I’ve been sacked from every job I’ve ever had, except this one – DJing.”

For more on ADE, stay tuned to this space.

Amsterdam Dance Event
Photo By Lieke Vermeulen

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