Who’s ready for stroopwafel? The 24th-annual Amsterdam Dance Event is just around the corner, bringing DJs, producers, industry executives and fans together for five days and nights of electronic music. ADE is half-conference and half-citywide party, and it’s your chance to dive deep into the scene, whether you’re looking to expand your existing business or get your foot in the club — so to speak.
With 2,500 artists and 600 speakers at more than 1,000 events across 200 venues, the full ADE program is daunting. We at Billboard Dance want to help streamline your experience with a few handy guide posts. We scoured the lineup of panels, talks and after parties and put our favorite 30 in a list.
Billboard teamed with Milk&Honey on an invite-only cocktail party on Saturday, as well as ADE University and Sprite on a series of talks called Future Jobs with UTA’s Head of Music Innovation Vanja Primorac, event designer Polina Zakh from Sila Sveta, and Andy Ng from China’s Tencent Music Entertainment. This author will also host a sit down with the team behind Oliver Heldens, a chat about VR raving with Sansar and Monstercat.
All self-promotion aside, here are 30 ADE conference events and parties you won’t want to miss. Many events are first-come, first-serve, so be sure to schedule accordingly.
The Only One in the Room
Wed, Oct 16, noon-1 p.m.
The dance music community pays lip service to gender equality, and research by Nielsen Music and the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM) show that the gender gap is shifting very slowly, but what can we do to move the needly faster? Five women and one man will look at the research and share personal stories in hopes of inspiring the audience to take the talk into the streets with action and real change.
Holograms, Robots & Storytelling. The Future of Clubs and Festivals
Wed, Oct 16, 1-1:45 p.m.
The urban Chinese masses have a voracious apetite for entertainment, electronic dance music included. Clubs there pull no punches to create an over-the-top experience, be it massive LED walls or holograms. This panel extrapolates one the future of clubbing culture and imagines what the dance floor could look like in 2030.
The Flightcase of: Modeselektor, Richie Hawtin & Sophie
Wed, Oct 16, 3-3:45 p.m.
This is an incredible opportunity to get an inside look at three of the electronic world’s most innovative live performers. Modeselektor, Hawtin and Sophie will showcase the hardware they use on stage, as well as demonstrate how it all comes together, while exploring the line between improvisation and preparation.
How Gen-Z Is Discovering Music Through Social Media
Wed, Oct 16, 5-5:45 p.m.
TikTok, Instagram stickers, SnapChat and stuff. This is how Gen Z communicates and discovers the world. The right social media #challenge could take a little-known artist to the top of the charts. Just look at Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road.” This panel will investigate the how’s, why’s and how-to’s of breaking the social media algorhythm and making it work for you.
Modular: Where to Start?
Wed, Oct 16, 5:30-6:15 p.m.
You bought a modular synthesizer on a whim one day because you want to be Boys Noize, but you haven’t touched it yet because you’re intimidated by the gang of octopus wires sticking out of it’s computer guts. Don’t worry, modular synths intimidate a lot of people, but they don’t have to. Brazilian producer and DJ Amanda Chang will break it down, teach you the fundamentals, and make sure you actually understand the oscillators, filters, and noise generators, so you can get your Kraftwerk on in no time.
How to Grow a Music Business – Achieving Scale Without Selling Out
Thu, Oct 17, 11:30-12:15 p.m.
Can you become a major player in the dance music world without losing sight of your grassroots past? Do you have to get in bed with majors or compromise your vision to lure a global audience? Absolutely not, and representatives from indie labels Hospital Records, Anjunabeats and more will show you how to gain capital without compromise.
How to Start a Record Label
Thu, Oct 17, 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Speaking of labels, it seems every artist with a few hits has one or plans to start one soon. Kered of Loot Recordings, Marco Faraone of Uncage Music, Nastia of Propaganda, and Sander van Doorn of Doorn Records will explain the value of such a venture and give a heads up on the hurdles that are bound to arise, whether or not the records you’re pressing are your own.
Reinier Zonneveld Thu, Oct 17, 2:45-3:30 p.m. (learn more)
San Holo Thu, Oct 17, 2:45-3:30 p.m. (learn more)
Nghtmre Fri, Oct 18, 1:30-2:15 p.m. (learn more)
Mike Williams Sat, Oct 19, 4:00-4:45 p.m. (learn more)
Catch the magic as its mustered and watch these artists write a song live in front of you. It’s a rare window into the creative process, and you just might learn some new tricks. These people are masters of their craft, so that’s pretty much a guarantee.
Beyond Technology: Unleashing Your Inner Creativity to Master Your Full Potential
Thu, Oct 17, 3:30-4:15 p.m.
Fernando Garibay is famously known as Lady Gaga’s closest co-writer and producer, but he’s also penned tunes for U2, Sia, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Snoop Doog, Shakira and more. This dance-pop mastermind will share his personal techniques to create a strong sense of purpose, a continuous creative flow and a sustained sense of empathy, so you can do your best work in a rapidly-changing field.
Finding Success in a Crowded Marketplace
Fri, Oct 18, 11-11:45 p.m.
It’s easier than ever to get your music out in the world, but that doesn’t mean anyone will actually listen. Label representatives from Dirtybird, Mad Decent and more will break down their strategies for streaming success and how you, too, can cut through the chatter and make an impact.
Workshop Sustainable Event Management
Fri, Oct 18, 11:15-12:15 p.m.
Douwe Luijnenburg is a master event builder, and he’s all about creating memorable experiences with low environmental impact. He’s worked with ID&T, Q-Dance, Into the Great Wide Open, Welcome to the Village and Eurosonic Noorderslag. Now, he’ll teach you how to produce sustainable festivals and events, so ravers can rage for years to come.
The Art Of Activism And The Activism Of Art
Fri, Oct 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
There is so much to care about in this world, and as Mary Poppin’s once said, a spoonfull of sugar helps the medacine go down. The medacine here is a plan for a healthier world that has equal opportunity, love and understanding for all, and the sugar, of course, is dance music. This panel will teach you how to take the issues you care about and put them at the center of your art, then strategize how to make the biggest impact on your local and greater global community.
Thu, Oct 17, 4:30-6 p.m. (learn more)
Fri, Oct 18, 4:30-6 p.m. (learn more)
Sat, Oct 19, 4:30-6 p.m. (learn more)
This is it. You’ve been carrying your USB around with your own tunes trying to get people to listen to your genius, but this is the time and place to share your songs with label executives from around the world. Each day, a different set of artists, managers, agents, A&R managers and sound engineers will sit down and listen to your jams in 10 minute sessions, then provide professional feedback. Access is limited, but you can sign up between 10 am and noon each day at the registration desk. Don’t sleep on this.
Richie Hawtin Close, Modeselektor (Live) and Sophie
Wed, Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m. to midnight
After getting an inside look at these artists’ live production set-up, check the presentations out in eye-popping dimension. Techno icon Hawtin will bring his awesome audio/visual presentation Close to ADE, and the chance to see Modeselektor live is a rare treat. Grammy-nominated Sophie is always a bang fest. Don’t miss this experimental throwdown.
Wed, Oct 16, 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
?One of the dance music industry’s most respected labels brings a huge cast of characters for a full night of musical escapism. Sets are scheduled from Amine Edge & Dance, Danny Howard, DJs Opolopo, GW Harrison, Hannah Wants, KC Lights, Leftwing & Kody, Mark Knight, Mendo, Siege and Tube & Berger.
Thu, Oct 17, 8-11 p.m.
One of the greatest and most influential dance music artists in history will take the stage to delight ADE audiences with disco, new wave and synth-pop grooves. Dance the evening away with timeless hits “Blue Monday,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” “Age of Consent” and more.
Club AMF Presents: Insomniac Music Group
Thu, Oct 17, 10 p.m. – 5 a.m.
Event company turned record label Insomniac shows off its favorite releasers with an all-night get down. Rave to the glowing grooves of UK garage duo Gorgon City, bass-heavy house star Chris Lake, house hero Sonny Fedora, “Take It” breakout star Dom Dolla, Bristol funk lover Redlight and more.
A night with bitbird
Thu, Oct 17, 11 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Native Netherlands producer San Holo runs his homegrown label as a crew of friends who have become family. Bitbird will showcase a bright slice of talent with performances from fellow Dutch duo Droeloe, Britsh boy Duskus, genre-crossing American Eastghost, pretty-music producer Former Hero, magic melody maker Taska Black, and a special set from Australian star What So Not.
Homeless Homies (Fundraiser Event)
Fri, Oct 18, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Founded by DJ Bone, the Homeless Homies event series unites the house and techno communities for charitable events around the world. This year’s ADE edition features performances by Peggy Gou, Kink, Dubfire, Ben Sims, Carista, Deetron, Jordan GCZ, Spencer Parker and DJ Bone. Proceeds will be donated to the international Homeless Homies foundation and two Amsterdam homeless shelters.
Burning Down The House
Thu, Oct 17, 10 p.m. – 8 a.m.
Party all night into the wee morning hours with a wide array of legendary DJs and cutting-edge upstarts. The grooves will be thick and the dance floor will be sweaty with sets from Arthur Baker, Buenavista, Charlotte Adigéry, Curses, Djedjotronic, Doppelgang, Heidi, Joost van Bellen, Myd, Paranoid London, Tommie Sunshine and Zubrowka International.
Thuishaven Friday w/ Life and Death
Fri, Oct 18, 4 p.m. – 6 a.m.
The acclaimed Life and Death event series comes to ADE with a huge host of DJs in tow for a 14-hour megajam. Tickets can be purchased for day, night or both. Performances planned include a variety of house and techno greats, including 2manydjs, Adiel, Axel Boman, Bawrut, David Vunk, DJ Seinfeld, DJ Tennis, Eli Iwasa, Gommage DJ-team, Kastronaut, Mor Elian, Omar Souleyman, Optimo, Red Axes and Simple Symmetry.
Our Story – Celebrating 15 years of Tomorrowland
Thur, Oct 18, 7-11 p.m. (learn more)
Fri, Oct 18, 7-11 p.m. (learn more)
The world’s largest electronic music festival makes its home in Belgium, but it’ll celebrate 15 years of musical magic at the industry’s biggest conference with two-nights of performances including sets from Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Steve Aoki, The Bloody Beetroots, Tiesto and more
Awakenings x Afterlife
Fri, Oct 18, 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.
Esteemed techno duo Tale of Us brings its Afterlife party concept to ADE for the first time. The bill includes performances from its label roster, including Fideles, Mathame, Mind Against, Recondite, Rødhåd and Stephan Bodzin.
Fri, Oct 18, 7-10 p.m.
French bass house heroes Tchami and Malaa are the yin and yang of club culture. The friendly duo’s No Redemption tour series is a battle of good versus evil, and we’re all the winners. Your soul may be saved, your body may be destroyed, but you’re destined to have a great time.
Martin Garrix | 18+
Fri, Oct 18, 10 p.m. – 6 a.m.
The Dutch native always puts on a huge show for his ADE audience, one for all ages crows and one just for the adults. Expect the biggest and boldest of dance music sounds old and new, as well as over-the-top lighting and production. It’s one of the biggest annual events of the conference, hands down.
Sat, Oct 19, 9 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Big room and progressive house get their time to shine with mega-star performances from Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Coone, David Guetta, Don Diablo, Jonas Blue, Mike Williams, Tiësto, Timmy Trumpet, W&W and Zawdi MC.
Circoloco x Loveland
Sat, Oct 19, 10 p.m. – 6:30 a.m.
Ibiza comes to ADE for one special night with two of the island’s favorite shindigs. It’s a tech-house take down with scheduled sets from a massive line-up including Baba Stiltz, Bedouin, Carl Craig, Damian Lazarus, Denis Sulta, Gerd Janson, Jennifer Cardini, Magit Cacoon, Mella Dee, Paula Tape, Seth Troxler, Simple Symmetry, Sossa, The Martinez Brothers and William Djoko.
DGTL x Bonobo presents Outlier
Sat, Oct 19, 10 p.m. – 7 a.m.
It’s a warehouse party unlike any other with a headline set from British electronica favorite Bonobo. The beloved producer rounds out the bill with some of his critically-acclaimed friends, including Jon Hopkins, The Black Madonna, Bradley Zero, Catching Flies, David August, HAAi and Ki/ki.
Awakenings x Joseph Capriati Invites
Sat, Oct 19, 11 p.m. – 8 a.m.
Joseph Capriati has a cool list of friends on call, and this Saturday-night swinger calls on cool kids Carl Cox, Anna, Gianni Callipari and Luigi Madonna.
This is Trance
Sat, Oct 19, 9 p.m. – 7 a.m.
Whether you’re looking for fast beats or pretty atmopsheres, the international trance family will get it all when they gather for this all-night beauty. Sets are planned from Aly & Fila, Andy Moor, Bryan Kearney, Dim3nsion, Ferry Corsten, Giuseppe Ottaviani, John O’Callaghan, Mark Sherry, Robert Nickson and Standerwick.