Escape the ADE mainstream with the Amsterdam Alternative Dance Event

If you’re in Amsterdam, you know what this week brings. It’s the annual pilgrimage of the international nightlife industry known as the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), which sees hundreds of thousands from all over the world descend onto the venues, co-working spaces, hotels, and Airbnbs for 5 days of bass and beats in the capital.

In its 2+ decades, the Amsterdam Dance Event has grown from an underground collection of dance music misfits into a mainstream industry status quo conference, privileging the inner workings of music as trade over the celebration of alternative lifestyles that created house and dance music culture through the years. That said, there are some elements of relief from the thousand+ capacity institutional events like Awakenings, DGTL, Diynamic, Afterlife, and their ilk with a handful of truly off the radar, underground activities meant to provide an alternative escape to the endless after-hours and relaxed municipality drug laws. “It is very important to a city like Amsterdam, to have strong underground,” says Amsterdam Alternative curator of ex film school/squat OT301, Ivo Schmetz. “If I look at my inbox, all the emails from people coming to ADE are industry, industry, industry,” he continues.

“The year before last, I started thinking about this (Amsterdam Alternative Dance Event) event,” says Ivo. “Nothing against ADE, but we wanted to provide an alternative to the quite expensive, commercial ADE events,” he continues. From this idea, a single night was born in 2018, which has since grown into 5 events for its 2019 edition. “The night last year was great! And it was on the Wednesday, which is always the most difficult night of ADE week,” Ivo recalls about the inaugural event.

Now, beginning on Wednesday and moving through the week, the Amsterdam Alternative Dance Event (AADE) is one such oasis. Curated by Amsterdam Alternative and situated at Nieuwe Anita, the Amsterdam Alternative Dance Event kicks off 16 October with its “Fck de industrie, leve het experiment!” panel discussion. Featuring Koen ter Heegde (Subroutine/Worm), Tijs Heesterbeek (Gonzo circus magazine), Natasja Alers (Grauzone), Quirina Geijsen (Vondelbunker), Akwasi (Neerlands Dope), the panel will discuss topics of resistance, disobedience, and rebellion, as pertinent to the dance music industry. Then, AADE goes punk at Cinetol with Alfred & The Disappointments, FCK FCK FCK, and Klaplong.

On Thursday, 17 October, the AADE centerpiece goes down at OT301’s club space, where a combination of eclectic live acts and renowned DJs take to the stage. Amongst them is selector extraordinaire Lena Willikens, as well as Amsterdam based duo, Know VA. Live performances come from Karel, RadioParkPlatz, Dymph, and Barros & Boutique case, all of which play for free, donating the entirety of the entrance money to the non-profit online/print platform. “I am really happy with this lineup. Lena is a great artist and the entire lineup is very interesting,” Ivo says about the lineup he personally curated. On Friday and Saturday, AADE wraps up with an eclectic collection of Afro Vibes, Punk & Post Punk sounds at OCCII.

In terms of how he sees AADE’s future editions, “For me it’s to take it step by step. It is important to try and include the venues connected with Amsterdam Alternative. Growing is not about money only. But, I would like to grow in terms of quality and awareness. Letting people know that there is more than the commercial mainstream and inspire them to experiment”.

Featured Image: Lena Willikens


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