Wrapping up ADE 2013: The 5 biggest headlines

This year’s Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) drew a record-breaking 300,000 people to the Dutch capital for the festivities across its five days, and marked 25 years of dance culture in the city. Whether you’re involved behind the scenes in the industry, or just a sweaty punter wanting to get amongst it, there are plenty of reasons to haul ass to Amsterdam every October.

However, while at night it might be all about Hardwell shaking the stadiums with Holland’s mightiest drops, or 10,000+ people partying to hard techno inside refurbished gas refineries (something the Awakenings brand pulled off with a five-night run of sell-out parties at Gashouder), it’s during the day when things get serious. This year over 5,000 industry professionals gathered for the conference element of ADE, which sprawled across five different hotels.

Booking agents, promoters, publicists, record label owners, up-and-comers hustling for a record deal…you name it; they’re all at ADE. During the day there’s some serious business and deal-making going on. So serious in fact, it was getting up Seth Troxler’s nose.

“Everyone is so fucking serious in dance music,” he playfully complained on one of the panels. “It’s become so much about the brands. It should be about the fun.”

While that might be the case, there were still plenty of insights and attention-grabbing announcements over the conference’s five-days. That is, for everybody who actually dragged themselves out of bed after exhibiting the industry-standard behaviour of partying all night long.

From SFX head of acquisitions Shelly Finkel announcing that his had company acquired 100% of ID&T to Hakkasan promoter James Algate heatedly defending Las Vegas’s reputation for sending DJ fees skyrocketing, here’s inthemix’s pick of the best moments of ADE 2013.

Las Vegas vs. the Underground

While everyone had just begun arriving in Amsterdam on Wednesday, arguably the biggest panel of the week took place before the day’s end. Global Club Culture: State of the Club Nation Debate saw some of the industry’s biggest players assembled to talk the future of dance culture. Some of the muscle on stage included Beatport CEO Matthew Adell, Las Vegas promoter James Algate, NYC club owner Nicolas Matar and ID&T founder Irfan van Ewijk.

Nicolas Matar, who recently opened the “strictly no bottle service” Output club in New York, shared his familiar distaste for the commercial dance that’s swept the US in recent years.

“I don’t think I’m distancing myself from it…because I was never a part of it to begin with. I look at EDM as a different type of pop music. I’ve been championing underground house and techno for almost 25 years. So for me, it’s just a passing fad that I’m not really a part of.”

Matar at times looked less than impressed with the fact that a Las Vegas promoter was sitting right across from him. However, Hakkasan head honcho James Algate was more than willing to concede that a gulf the size of the Grand Canyon existed between what the two are doing.

“I think Nicholas and me are polar opposites. A DJ that plays at Output, he’d get booed off stage and drinks thrown at him if he played at Hakkasan. That crowd needs the high energy, they come to Las Vegas because they want to have a good time and be entertained. They don’t want to have to listen to half an hour of deep house. We’ve tried. It doesn’t work.”

While Algate emphasised the importance of VIP and bottle service, particularly for a club that represents a $130 million investment for the MGM Grand Casino (“one of the most expensive clubs ever built”), he reinforced his love for the paying punters who just come to dance.

“Everything in Hakkasan was built around the dancefloor. It’s the biggest in Vegas; you can fit 1,000 people on it. Of course we ultimately need to ring the till…but we also need to make sure the dancefloor is filled. They’re just as important, because without them you don’t create the right environment. We will not put extra tables on the dancefloor.”

Algate also fought back against claims that Las Vegas is solely responsible for skyrocketing DJ fees. “It’s supply and demand… If you don’t pay the money, you’re not going to get them. It’s not that Las Vegas skews things. All of the press about Las Vegas fees should be taken with a pinch of salt. Half of it isn’t true, and the other half was written before the club was even opened.”

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