ADE 2023: Organizers Share 10 Things to Know About the Dance Industry’s Biggest Conference This Week in Amsterdam

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Much of the electronic music industry is currently en route to Amsterdam, with the genre’s biggest conference, ADE, starting tomorrow (Oct. 18.) Approximately 8,000 professionals are expected to attend.

The four-day event is, as always, putting on a dizzying number of panels and adjacent events that will take over more than 100 clubs and event spaces throughout the city. ADE 2023 is again divided into Lab and Pro programming, with Lab content tailored for people trying to get into or just starting out in the industry, while Pro programming is designed for established managers, label execs, artists, streamers, marketers, promoters and more.

While the conference is “inspiring and gets everyone together,” says ADE co-organizer Meindert Kennis, “we also focus on hands-on information … In the end, that’s what a lot of professionals are coming for, and they need to take home value for themselves or their organization. We try to implement that in all the different elements of ADE to really help the industry push itself forward.”

There will be a lot of momentum to be gleaned 170 Pro sessions happening from Wednesday to Saturday. Talks on streaming, labels, social engagement, royalties and much more will be given by execs from Spotify, YouTube, Tiktok, Beatport, TuneCore and many other organizations. After dark, the industry will flex what it does best, with musical performances by 2,900 artists both rising and established happening throughout the city.

Here, ADE organizers Kennis and Jan-Willem van de Ven share key 10 things to know about ADE 2023.

1. Over the past 15 years, ADE’s musical offerings have expanded from 33 nightclubs to, in 2023, more than 200 venues. ADE doesn’t produce all of these events themselves, but facilitates promoters from around the world utilizing these spaces while throwing parties under the ADE banner.

“The concept is that we don’t program all these events ourselves,” says van de Ven. “We help facilitate individual promoters to showcase what they know and do best.”

2. As ADE has grown to feature consumer-facing events, it’s become a platform for global festival brands to test run new concepts. This week will see 35 locations around Amsterdam hosting outdoor and big tent festival-style events.

“What you see now is a lot of concepts being tried at ADE,” says van de Ven. “It’s not a DJ showcase festival anymore, but it’s more a concept showcase festival where you’ll see a lot of concepts being tried out for the first second time. But if it works at ADE, it might work for the rest of the world.

Meindert Kennis & Jan Willem van de Ven

3. As with previous editions, ADE 2023 features hundreds of panels, networking sessions, drink mixers, musical performance and other adjacent programming.

“If you’re at this panel, or at a drinks thing or another event, you’re missing out on 100 other ones,” says Kennis. “That’s difficult, but that’s also the strength of it and the reason why ADE is such a thrilling event…because it’s just too much to handle. That’s why ADE means so so many different things to so many different people, and there’s something for everyone.”

4. To help guide attendees’ schedules, ADE 2023 Pro programming is organized by three tracks: strategies, opportunities and responsibilities.

“Strategies is all about the business and the value chain,” says Kennis. “Opportunities is really for future startups like A.I. adn responsibilities, is stuff like green initiatives and [industry gender equity associations like] SheSaid.So. This way, we try to at least give people the possibility of making an efficient time schedule.”

5. These Pro and Lab tracks are designed to work in tandem. Lab programming this week includes production demos, mastering social media, music rights education and much more.

“The idea behind it was to create an ecosystem that that feeds itself,” says Kennis, “so that the young people or aspiring producers and professional needs are serviced in that way that they will be a pro visitor maybe in a few years later.”

6. Not everyone who goes to Amsterdam attends the actual conference, with many people traveling to the city simply to be around so much of the industry.

“Not everyone is buying a ticket to go to a panel,” says van de Ven. “That’s our preferred situation obviously, but at the same time, having these all these people over here doing business and creating this momentum together is is really important for us. That’s our greatest value.”

7. ADE recently received official designation as a Dutch nonprofit cultural organization. For the first time ever, the conference will hold an opening night party at the city’s Rijksmuseum, where members of the electronic music community will mingle while surrounded by the works of Rembrandt, Vermeer Van Gogh and other Dutch masters.

“There are these two cultural moguls, and Rijksmuseum are one of them, and we’re on the other one,” says van de Ven. “We can create this jaw dropping momentum, if we can have several audiences together and show the world that day culture and night culture [don’t need to be separate.] It can be one and the same. It’s going to be amazing.”

Amsterdam Dance Event

8. That cultural organization classification also helps ADE define itself in the eyes of the industry.

“A lot of people think we’re a big commercial company with huge budgets that can fly in any artist in that will fit the narrative,” says Kennis. “Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The stamp of approval of being an official nonprofit cultural organization within the Netherlands kind of helps us fight the stigma that [ADE is] money-hungry, commercial activities, which is nice.”

9. With ADE musical showcases often drawing huge crowds, organizers have developed a new tool that will help attendees figure out what venues are at capacity.

This in-app feature will allow people to “look at every festival location on a map and see if there’s room for entrance,” says van de Ven, “so people aren’t going 50 minutes by Uber” to events they can’t get into. “We’ve wanted this for many years and knew we really needed to solve this issue, so this year is going to be our pilot with 40 or 50 locations.”

10. ADE 2023 is expecting many industry professionals from the U.S., which doesn’t currently have its own dance industry conference.

“There are some parts of the world that are buying more tickets than we expected,” says van de Ven. “For example, Australia’s quite big this year, and there a lot of people coming from the United States.”

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