Day one of annual electronic music conference and rave mecca Amsterdam Dance Event launched on Wednesday as delectable party showcases lifted fans higher than a “coffee shop.”
In typical festival form, attendees express mild anxiety (with a side of FOMO) over the daunting task of choosing between dozens of mind-melting affairs from their favorite DJs over the event’s five-day stretch, meanwhile industry professionals try not to cancel their networking meetings after indulging in some fun the previous night. Before day two gets out of hand, here are some highlights you may have missed during ADE’s 2017 kick-off.
Quaint brownstones and zen-like canals played a stark contrast to the mile-long line of boisterous fans for hometown hero Martin Garrix, who hosted a three-hour meet-n-greet at his own branded pop-up shop located at the Art’Otel in the city’s center. A group of young die-hard fanatics broke out singing Garrix and Dua Lipa‘s Billboard Hot 100 hit “Scared To Be Lonely” to local news cameras, as others trembled in anticipation of getting up close and personal to the 21-year-old wunderkind. Artists always dream of making their hometowns proud, and the STMPD RCRDS boss, undoubtedly Amsterdam’s largest pop culture export since mentor Tiësto, is doing just that as he continues to grow into a business-savvy hit-making force with modesty forever at his foundation.
Over in the ADE Playground, the designated flagship center where many of the day’s talks and workshops are held, a late afternoon panel between Richie Hawtin, KiNK, Francesca Lombardo, Marco Faraone and the marketing director for underground juggernaut Awakenings was held to discuss “when is a DJ not a DJ?” The selected DJs, known particularly for their boundary-breaking live sets, attempted to narrow the definition of what it means to actually perform “live” as a dance act, and how they are weathering in the festival and events booking space compared to artists who don’t perform live.
While each act tip-toed around a direct answer, each voiced how their live iterations were crafted, and the intimate aesthetics they aim to build, like Hawtin’s splitting of the DJ panel — which he says is mainly so the crowd can see his legs and feel closer to him — or even KiNK displaying his equipment set-up on the LED screen behind him, for fans to watch his unmatched technical wizardry in real time.
Immediately following the chat, Hawtin dashed to Nieuwmarkt for his highly-anticipated pop-up gig, drawing an expectedly large crowd for an outdoor two-hour set free to the public. Even though the audio wasn’t ideal — you could hear the chatter of the crowd over much of the set — having a techno titan of his stature kick off the greatest party marathon in the world was a check off the rave bucket list.
As night fell, so did inhibitions at the Gashouder arena for Awakenings’ inaugural showcase helmed by driving techno sorcerer Len Faki, who was supported throughout the night by the likes of Robert Hood, KiNK, Lady Starlight and Jeff Mills. Faces of all ages, colors and nationalities assembled in the dome of underground dominion for a journey straight to the depths of famed Berlin club Berghain, where Faki also maintains residency.
Just like the Facebook videos, bearing witness to the brand’s unrivaled production — including those signature shooting stars across the ceiling — was enough to skyrocket fans to a crescendo of dimensions ignited by the MC’s famous three words: “We are Awakenings!”