It has been a while, two years to be exact, but Amsterdam Dance Event is finally making a comeback. In some shape or form anyway. We would usually at this point be collating the finest parties that will be taking place across Amsterdam, and we will, but at this point, Holland is at a carefully balanced crossroads. Only in the last few weeks has The Dam’s nightlife industry been given the opportunity to again open their cities nightclubs, warehouse venues and festivals.
Prior to the announcement that the green light had finally been given, there was constant online outrage that culminated in several days of public protest named “unmute.us” with outdoor raves similar to that found in UK and Germany, and it seemed to do the trick. Whether it was a coincidence or not, the Dutch authorities had finally listened to its people crying out to dance: it worked.
The excitement is building around Europe as plans are being formulated to make tracks to Amsterdam where those little, and not so little yellow lightboxes will again litter the city. As important as it is that the Amsterdam community reacts as a whole, we speak to a clutch creative individuals that have been directly affected by the city-wide clamp down on music events and get their take on the current temperature of the city and the wider scene…
As well as discussing the best events taking place across the week we speak to some of the promoters and business owners that have been awaiting this news. On the front line of the music industry in Amsterdam and Holland as a whole is Richard Van Overbeek. His Killacutz record store has been serving vinyl diggers both online and in his city centre store for many years. Like many European major cities demonstrations, Holland’s cities had little option but to take to the streets to have their voice heard. Richard points out how this applies to Holland, “It’s hard for our nightlife culture. Our government kept every business closed for so long that they are happy with what they get now. That’s daytime clubbing. All over Europe, it’s possible with the Fieldlab tests we did. Is it possible to organize parties in a safe way! Yes, it was what the test said!”
Richard goes on to make a valid point regarding the way in which the Dutch clubbing community was perhaps missold the vaccine, “Here it went wrong because our Minister Hugo de Jonge said that if young people would take the vaccine in the morning they could dance the same evening. He knew this was not possible, but young people went for it. The week after, al, was closed again!” Richard has seen a lot of the Dutch club scene over the years and he of course has to remain optimistic that Holland is returning to some sort of normality, “our government as everywhere in the world has so much power that it’s up to them. People seem to take everything for granted for what they do to stop Covid. The catering industry and clubs were closed for 1.5 years and it was very quiet in our scene. People in our government are not into electronic music or dancing that’s for sure. On November 1st, all regulations should be gone. That is what our Prime Minister said. Let’s hope this time this will be the case! One day we will dance again at night!”
The fact that clubs and festivals are finally returned to Amsterdam is being welcomed by clubbers, venues, promoters, the list is endless. The physical aspect of Richard’s business is solely reliant on music lovers being able to actually visit his store and discovering music in person. I put it to him if he thought that this was the beginning of normality returning for him, “I don’t know yet! Killacutz records is very busy on the weekends. Now people go clubbing perhaps my customers will come other days or I might open the store on Friday evening till late so I can still provide my DJs with the best records! I stay creative and work on Killacutz 2.0. More info soon!”. Killacutz is very well known for their in-store events and they will again be welcoming the best selectors from around Europe to showcase their sound across the long weekend from 2pm until 10pm from Thursday, October 14th to Saturday October 16th.
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London based agency with a worldwide influence Toi Toi are an intrinsic part Amsterdam events, ADE as well as the world minimal commuity. Founder Isis Salvaterra knows more than most how agile promoters wishing to put on parties during ADE ’21 need to be, “recently we have had to be on our toes with so many last-minute changes, announcements..,My ADE event hasn’t changed much as a consequence, I had to make some adjustments line up wise but it was always planned to be at Doka on the Sunday. Doka is very much in line with the philosophy I have for Toi Toi. Intimate, high quality.”
Isis goes on to add just how important this year’s ADE is to the city and the scene as a whole, “The announcement by the Dutch government that events can go ahead, even though with limited capacity, consequently allowing ADE to go ahead, came as a breath of fresh air to the whole industry.” As well as the obvious benefits to Amsterdam’s clubbing scene this ADE there has been restrictions put in place. Isis is upbeat in the face of the upcoming restriction imposed on her event, “I think there has been a lot of adaptation to the timings, people will have to adapt. Considering the struggles we have been through these past years with Covid I feel people are willing to do whatever it takes to be able to dance. One thing that concerns me is the fact that we are operating under limited capacity, 25% less. This may change to full but we don’t know as of yet.” Isis will present her annual Toi Toi event at Doka in the latter part of Sunday, October 17th and will feature Margaret Dygas, Junki Inoue and Doris Nicholas.
One of the most prolific promoters in Holland is without a doubt Slapfunk and they have a full dance card this ADE. Never content with throwing just one party Nelson Yogh and his tireless team always throw events at the best venues in the city. This year their parties will take place at Shelter, Veronicaschip and their annual Monday morning rager at BRET but more on those later.
The events industry is tough at the best of times, and with Holland only just emerging from an extended period of restrictions we were keen to find out how Nelson has been spending his time, “Making plans for the years to come, but also spend a lot of time thinking about what these past years have meant for me personally and learned not to take everything for granted. Find out that bringing balance to the body and the soul is something very strong. I’m not gonna lie we also throw our fair share of illegal raves of course.”
Apart from the obvious timing, capacity and entry restrictions that will be imposed on all events during ADE, Nelson gave his opinion on how his events are affected, “People get false PCR tests, while they bought tickets. The whole QR code system is lame, people who don’t want to get vaccinated can’t come in. I hate to be put on a spot where I have to discriminate in every form to our audience.” While Nelson clearly sees the recently imposed restrictions as dividing an otherwise communal scene and while he has some outrageous parties coming up during ADE he is keen to move forward, “We lost a lot of time, years we don’t get back. if they keep things open it will take a year or so to be back at where we were.”
Slapfunk has one of the busiest schedules during ADE and for very good reason. Their ADE starts on Saturday, October 16th at Shelter with a home turf session with Sweely, The Ghost B2B Gene On Earth, Samuel Deep and Sanja. The following day on Sunday, October 17th is People In Love continue their love affair with homies and home girls VBX as they take over Veronicaschip with Doudou MD, Hamish and Toby, Samuel Deep B2B Reiss, Sugarfree and Z@p. Slapfunk round out their ADE with their annual marathon carry on at BRET with unannounced special guests but be sure that this early morning rave is going to be one of ADE’s highlights.
Working in parallel to Slapfunk is regular collaborators and People In Love partners VBX. With an equally slammed ADE schedule this Dutch collective is partly responsible for flying the orange flag in the minimal and selector community. As well as throwing their own parties they regularly hook up with Slapfunk and Romanian originators Sunrise. Speaking with Denise and Niels they are forthright regarding the recent protests on Dutch nightlife, “The Netherlands has a strong group of club owners, promoters and creatives in the nightlife that come together to form a strategy on how to approach the situation in the best way, but we strongly feel like there is no dialogue between nightlife and the government, and no support for our industry. The open and sudden close of nightlife in July was a big hit for our industry. We are deeply worried about the future of Dutch nightlife, Dance has always been one of the biggest pillars of Dutch culture, but at this point that fact is forgotten.”
The European nightlife universe has been through a lot in this past year and with Holland being one of the pillars of European club land it was as disappointing for those that run the parties as those that attend them. So, when voices began to join collectively and protests took place a movement was in the offing it was a timely reminder that Holland value their place especially during ADE, “Governmental adversity has been disproportionally directed towards nightlife and dance music culture at large. As events are only allowed only from 8:00AM to 0:00, we are heavily restricted in the way we fill in our hours this ADE. Usually VBX and its sound is known for extended sets and extended parties, that merge from one into the other, and we will miss those weekend marathon vibes for sure. But to look at it from the bright side: it feels great to be back on track.”
As well as their joint parties alongside Slapfunk VBX will be starting their ADE in earnest on Friday, October 15th at the expansive party space Lofi and as well as resident Ferro, Francesca del Garda, Harry McCanna B2B Sam Bangura and Raresh will top the bill. The next morning and perhaps one of the parties of the week will be their sunrise smash-a-thon at BRET where will be entrusting the party to a diverse array of selectors Mandana, Raphael Carrau, resident Reiss, Voigtmann and Christian AB. The next morning day break specialists Sunrise will be hooking up with their Dutch brothers and sisters Sunrise. Decamping to Shelter the following morning Ferro will be supporting visiting Romanian peers Arapu who will play B2B with Gescu as well as Cap and Priku.
We have spoken to several stone wall stalwarts of the Dutch scene and not before time there is a debutant making an appearance at this year’s ADE. When we say debutants the London based picnic crew of label head DJ Andy Luff and party mastermind Tom Ashplant are in no way new to the scene and most definitely not new to Amsterdam.
Being picnic’s first ADE event we were interested to find out from Andy how important it was them and also for the city to make these events happen, “Having had 3 or 4 parties in Amsterdam cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic it has been extremely frustrating for us as we were just starting to emerge on the local scene so being able to finally restart our program here is extremely important for us.”
Picnic are already a part of the furniture in many major cities that includes recent outings at Berlin’s Club der Visionaere, Caprices Festival, Centrale93 in France and of course London’s fabric, FOLD and The Lion and Lamb and they have plenty to add to the blooming scene, “Amsterdam already boasts a number of great parties showcasing international talent week in week out and our inclusion only help to make the cities nightlife industry stronger. The timing of this year’s ADE has worked out pretty well as it’s a big show for us and our first proper event here in nearly 2 years. Each year ADE represents the drive and passion of the scene here and being able to showcase such amazing events is so important for the culture and diversity of this wonderful city.”
Moving back to the task at hand Tom and Andy are specialists in day parties and with these always being a big part of ADE and Amsterdam clubbing, did they see the restrictions changing the landscape for good, “Who doesn’t love a daytime afters at ADE?! The daytime events always have a very unique vibe and I can’t see that changing this year. It’s great to see that even with these restrictions still in place organisers are pushing for another unforgettable ADE edition.”
Andy goes on to add, “In terms of looking forward I hope that next year we can have the full ADE experience as the night shows are equally important and always deliver such high quality. Clubbing is such a big part of who we are as people and Amsterdam Dance Event brings everyone together in perfect harmony.” For a first ADE event on Saturday, October 16th Andy and Tom have pulled out all the stops and have secured one of the city’s finest venues in Doka. They will be bringing with them a suitably top selection of artists in DJ Tjizza, Gabbs, Hamish & Toby, Laurine & Cecilio, PH Project and of course the omnipresent Andy Luff.
One of Amsterdam’s most loved venues is the flamboyant Thuishaven. As always, they will have a sprawling lineup over the course of the weekend that starts with a PIV showcase on Thursday, October 14th with Chris Stussy, Djoko, Okain, Prunk and Oden & Fatzo (Live) amongst many others. For their final event of their program, they will also have Apollonia as well as a host of top selectors.
Finally, one of the other big draws of the week comes in the shape of Breakfast Club. Taking place at Radion over from Saturday, October 16th to Monday, October 18th and over the two days they will feature the likes of Nicolas Lutz B2B Craig Richards, Evan Baggs, Laurine, and Sanja. Their weekend will culminate with a Monday morning experience that will include Pelle, Z@p, Saoirse and Children of Valis. There is of course a myriad of events over the course of the extended weekend that takes in all manner of techno, house, breaks, electro and everything else in between, but it’s good to finally say that ADE ’21 is primed and ready.