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I Went to Amsterdam Dance Event and Got Thrown By A Russian

Photo: Tom Doms

Ever rave so hard you lose your shoes? Yeah. I’m that person.

This being Amsterdam Dance Event week gives me flashbacks of my first ADE experience three years ago. If you’ve never raved abroad, but want to, Amsterdam is the place to be (with Berlin a close second!). For the unfamilIar, ADE is the biggest electronic musical festival, and conference, in the world– split between multiple venues across Amsterdam.

Typically held in mid-October, all of EDM’s biggest names, along with scores of fans from across the globe, take over the Dutch capital for a week of non-stop partying, workshops, and networking events.  The dance music industry literally takes over the entire city. You’ll see ADE logos and programs everywhere you look. It really is a sight to behold.

Yellow ADE Cubes Are Everywhere During ADE Week: flyers, physical structures, flags, apparel, and more! (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

We’re spoiled here in America; there are plenty of festivals to chose from- especially here in our beloved Pacific Northwest. But, if you want a one-of-a-kind “raving” experience, our neighboring continent across the pond is your gateway to a whole new EDM world.

Wanting a new experience, I went to ADE three years ago. It was my first time in Amsterdam, and to this day, remains my favorite adventure ever. I got to see my favorite artist, Armin van Buuren, perform for the first time at an intimate venue. I went to a Yellow Claw Barong Family label show, which Carnage and Hardwell (who played a dance  hall set!) crashed.

I saw Armin a second time that week, after he joined Nicky Romero for a surprise set at Romero’s Protocol recordings label night. I almost made it inside Skrillex’s OWSLA label party held inside a frickin’ CRANE in an industrial yard outside the downtown area. When it comes to ADE, expect the unexpected. 

Do You Remember the First Time You Saw Your Favorite DJ/Producer? (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

Which brings me back to me losing my shoes. At the aforementioned Yellow Claw label night, I got sucked into my first mosh pit! At this point in my life, I was pretty new to festivals, and clubbing. I’d never witnessed a mosh pit in person. I thought I knew what I was getting into that night. Turned out, I was partying with the most physical crowd ever. 

As the pioneers of Amsterdam Trap Music ripped a ton of heavy Blood for Mercy anthems, I found myself getting pushed and shoved non-stop! So I pushed back! Amidst the madness, I did make new friends- albeit having loud bass, and a language barrier, made communication difficult. As I was getting flung around by the international crowd, I found myself having the time of my life. And yes, at one point, I was actually lifted off the ground and thrown into another person- losing my shoes in the process! Walking around Amsterdam with no shoes, after the show ended: not fun.

Skrillex Throwing A Secret Rave Inside A Crane! Only at ADE! (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

At the conclusion of ADE each year is the Amsterdam Music Festival, held at the world-renowned Amsterdam ArenA soccer stadium. It’s the largest indoor festival in the world, and plays host to many popular EDM artists each year- most of them Dutch. Fitting.

I missed out on AMF that year, and was perfectly OK with it. All my favorite artists were doing smaller club shows throughout the week- I could literally pick and chose which party to attend. If you’re into trance, big room, progressive house, and techno, you can get your fix, and more, at ADE.

If you want to learn more about the industry, and meet insiders and managers- this is the place. If you want to learn how to make music, but don’t know where to start- let ADE’s endless workshops be your guide. EVERYONE is there….well, almost everyone. Bass Music hasn’t quite caught on in Amsterdam.

Being tossed around at Yellow Claw, seeing Armin van Buuren, amongst other things I did three years ago, was a life changing experience for me. It made me want to go to more festivals outside the States. I loved meeting fellow fans from places like the Czech Republic, Australia, and, of course, Holland (the Dutch, by the way, speak awesome English, and are very kind…and tall).

The workshops I went to made me want to be involved in the industry (thank you DMNW for taking a chance on me!). Not to mention, raving abroad would allow me to explore new cultures- I am a sucker for that shit. 

I’ve learned sometimes it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll learn more about yourself, deal with challenges, make new friends- the list goes on. I went to Holland specifically for ADE- not knowing a lick of Dutch, or much about Amsterdam. The result?: The time of my life!

Raving Isn’t The Only Thing To Do During ADE Week. Touring the Heineken Plant Is One Must-Do Experience! (Photo: Stanley Sutton/DMNW)

If you have a passport, and are willing to spend the money, give Amsterdam a shot. It may change your life too!

If you’re interested in raving abroad, be sure to read our “what you should know” guide!

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