As the Autumn nights eat away at our days ,the battle cry for ADE beckons over the Dutch landscape - and the warlords of electronic music come marching from all four corners of the globe. Epic in scale as it is in stature, the Amsterdam Dance Event has gradually become the lynchpin of electronic music for all clans of the music empire. Indeed, where else would EDM enthusiasts rub shoulders with underground shufflers in a place that's calm and tranquil? Where else would they rub shoulders full stop? In that essence (and many more), Amsterdam is the perfect setting, and it's this gelling of said communities that - in this writer's opinion at least - makes the conference such an unmissable proposition. And it's here, every year, where I'm reminded just why this is a fantastically enlightening (and burgeoning) industry to be a part of.
Through the peaks and troughs that is music, the dynamism of ADE is evident. The sheer precision of its programming, the truly engaging panels (from some true legends of music), the many events that take over the city for 4 days and nights. All in all, it's a pretty unrivaled spectacle. Arriving in the city and checking the listings for the days to follow truly is something special to behold.
The conference itself, held in both The Dylan Hotel and the close-by Felix Meritis, oozes class, and an industry full of style, panache and know-how. In short, it's precisely at odds with the sometimes ignorant perception of electronic music. If you ever needed proof that the music and its scene is big business these days, then look no further than ADE: with over 300,000 professionals and partiers descending on the 'Dam every October, it's unlike few other musical gatherings the world over.
With so many people in attendance, it's only natural that the conference spills out onto the cobbles of the nearly canals, with meetings taking place, in well, anywhere there's space. And it's at this moment that the relaxed side of music marries perfectly with the cold knack of day-to-day business deals, as monetary talk is replaced with a more personable edge. It's frantic yet organised - and a wonderful reminder of what makes electronic music so special in the first place.
The city of Amsterdam also deserves much credit for the ease in which it deals with the influx of new faces. In stark contrast to the 'red faced' English men hoarding all corners of San Antonio on any given August weekend in Ibiza, Amsterdam embraces the much more rendered crowd that makes up the numbers for the conference. On any given canal corner you can find a host of cafes, shops and bars all keen to partake in what the conference has to offer and in general cater to the needs of the 'tourists'.
It does, however, remain to be seen whether the council still echo these sentiments, and while there, a friend mentioned that there had been a rally from the local auuthorities against certain aspects of Electronic Music. It's hard to comment on this as it's from a second hand source, but if true it could raise some interesting discussions about how ADE remains to operate - and whether or not the council are in full backing of the conference. I suppose only time will tell.
To end on a lighter note, for me, personally, the most engaging part of the conference was the coming together of some great musical minds in the shape of Giorgio Moroder, Nile Rodgers, Greg Wilson and the always flamboyant Tommie Sunshine. As they time-travelled through the musical timescale, each one reminisced about the rich tapestry in which their music had been developed from. Through many a turbulent time, not least racism and gay rights, music has proved a focal point in bringing likeminded folk together in celebration, as a freedom of speech and most importantly for good times. For me, ADE echoes these sentiments and it's credit to everyone involved that they manage to pull off such an enriching conference year upon year.
And finally - although somewhat off topic I hasten to add - what trip to Amsterdam would be complete without the annual saunter down the Red Light District? Unfortunately my word count has hit its limit so I bid you farewell. Which I suppose is apt, as what happens in Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam, right?