As hundreds of thousands of dance super fans around the world — 395,000 to be exact — return from Amsterdam Dance Event to their respective home countries and lay in bed perusing through their Instagram posts while serotonin levels slowly regenerate, it’s difficult not to reminisce about the multi-sensory overload experienced at the five-day electronic music mecca. Even though the countdown to next year’s installment has already begun, Billboard Dance is recapping nine moments we’d lose sleep over again.
From his ENTER. residencies to sake installments, techno titan Richie Hawtin is known for his pop-up takeovers across various international destinations and this go-around saw the prolific dance figurehead host a two-hour sunset rave in the city’s center at Nieuwmarkt, drawing an expectedly massive crowd for the free outdoor event open to the public. Although the system audio wasn’t ideal — keep in mind it’s hard to control acoustics in such an open setting — having a techno titan of his stature launch off the greatest party marathon in the world was a check off the rave bucket list.
Maceo Plex’s Secret Sunrise After Hours
Barcelona-based power player Maceo Plex has enticed underground fans and critics alike, especially over the past few years. Known not only for his diverse music production catalog ranging from house to techno and tech house, the Dallas native pairs his sonic dominion with epic locations that feed into his forward-thinking aesthetic. Perched high atop the A’DAM Tower Amsterdam with a 360-degree view courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows, the Ibiza favorite once again held a secret after-hours affair on the structure’s top floor for a back-to-back gig alongside San Francisco’s Solar. The Mosaic maestro must’ve been inspired by the current Halloween spirit, dropping a sample of Michael Jackson’s suspenseful classic “Thriller” towards the end of his afternoon set which concluded just past 2pm. If you were lucky enough to pass security for an elevator ride to the top, this is sure to be a moment relived for years to come.
Jamie Jones’ Awakenings Debut At Gashouder
If rave aliens exist, Gashouder arena, home to Awakenings festival’s ADE and New Year’s spin-off events, must be the mothership they descend from. The high-octane superdome played host to a league of mega-talents at this year’s ADE — including Adam Beyer, Len Faki, KiNK, Robert Hood, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nicole Moudaber and many more — but it was Hot Creations head Jamie Jones‘ debut during the 2017 series that will be forever engraved in dance history books. While the U.K. producer treks around the world with his sought-after Paradise party franchise, Jones’ inaugural performance on Saturday night’s Joseph Capriati-helmed edition far exceeded (dare we say) any gig he’s done in recent memory. Not that Jamie isn’t magnificent already, but fans catch a vibe when artists play from a higher power, and this set was one of his greatest opuses yet.
Underworld’s Iconic Rijksmuseum Takeover
Taking a page from Mace Plex’s headline-making set in the Bicycle Passage at the historic Rijksmuseum last year, British electronic band Underworld recreated live their nearly four decades of experimental productions for a two-hour hypnotic journey deep into their catalog. Their cinematic sound and layered performance could not have been hosted in a more suiting labyrinth. Watch the full performance below!
ADE Sound Lab’s Up-Close Encounters: Oliver Heldens, KiNK, Martin Garrix & More
For delegates and attendees up early enough to catch daytime activities, they were in for a treat with stirring panels and motivational workshops, but one of the favorite highlights was ADE’s Sound Lab that invited fans and aspiring producers to intimate encounters with some of their favorite artists who showcased their technique, creative foresight and approach to their respective sonic abilities. High-profile acts such as Martin Garrix and KiNK held hour-long workshops throughout the week for fans to catch a glimpse at how they hone their production chops meanwhile instilling inspiration in finding your own voice. Basically, this was the DJ edition of Oprah’s Master Class.
Armin van Buuren & Hardwell’s Epic Back-To-Back At Amsterdam Music Festival
Pyrotechnics, fire canons and epileptic laser light shows combined for an arena-sized extravaganza that saw two of dance music’s most famous faces, Armin van Buuren and Hardwell, join for a special back-to-back of big room anthems and sing-along favorites at the annual Amsterdam Dance Festival. Watching the sea of international spectators jump frantically up and down proudly waving their origin countries’ flags made for a sight only festival dreams can conjure.
Martin Garrix’s Two-Night Headline Arena Show
The Dutch wunderkind’s chaotic week of events in his hometown culminated with back-to-back headline shows featuring the likes of some of his frequent collaborator pals Julian Jordan, Florian Picasso and more. The sold-out affair, hosted at RAI arena, encapsulated the 21-year-old not only as a hometown hero but undoubtedly the face of EDM.
Defiant on the Dancefloor: How Nightlife Empowered the LGBTQ+ Community & Vice-Versa Panel
Among the week’s slew of panels, one standout included retracing dance music’s LGBTQ+ origins and how the relationship between the community and nightlife have benefitted both over the past four decades, as well as club culture’s role in the advancement of human rights, Trump’s transgender ban and the “gay purge” in Chechnya among many other topics. The panel included prominent figures behind the scenes of some of the world’s gay-friendly and pansexual parties, including Los Angeles-based A Club Called Rhonda’s co-founder Loren Granich and Amsterdam Pride organizer Peter van Vught.
Tale Of Us’ Afterlife Sorcery
Few parties boasted a lineup more stacked and immersive than Tale Of Us’ revered party series Afterlife. Returned to Mediahaven, a three-room warehouse on the city’s industrial outskirts, event regulars Mind Against, Patrice Baumel, Recondite, Mathew Jonson, Stephan Bodzin and more lured party-goers into a demented forest of ominous techno that ironically fueled the souls of the audience for a 10-hour adventure into unknown dimensions.