A beginners guide to ADE

ADE Guide

A beginners guide to ADE

The Amsterdam Dance Event, the worlds largest gathering of all things electronic music!


Amsterdam Dance Event or ADE for short, is the worlds largest gathering for all things electronic music. Split into two parts, the conference and the festival, ADE attracts over 350,000 people to the beautiful city of Amsterdam over five days. The festival boasts 2,500 artists performing in 140 of Amsterdam’s bars, clubs and event spaces. On the conference side, ADE provides live events and networking spaces to help inspire, educate and connect attendees. So with all that said, is it a trip thats worth making? Well that depends on who you are, lets get into it!

Essentials to pack…

There’s nothing worse than arriving in a foreign city and realising you’ve left something essential at home. Fortunately Amsterdam is a beautiful modern city with almost every essential covered. We even found a on demand merchandising centre whilst exploring, should you feel the need to create your own merch whilst at ADE. That said there are a few items we would recommend stocking up on before you head out.

  • Business Cards – They might be a bit old fashioned in todays instagram age but should a phone die these are a life saver.
  • Battery Bank – As we just mentioned, phones die! Especially when there is so much content to create whilst you’re visiting so make sure you pack extra juice!
  • Hearing Protection – If you’re visiting one of the many acts playing on a night, this is a must. Harder to pick up in the city, make sure you protect your hearing as these clubs are some of the loudest we have ever visited!
  • Camera – Amsterdam is a beautiful city and you’ll be spending time rubbing shoulders with influential artists, management and companies. What better time to create content for your socials?

Getting around Amsterdam…

One of the best things about Amsterdam is the transport links. With a variety of cheap and efficient ways to get around, the choice really is up to you. When arriving into Schiphol airport you can take a taxi, a uber or a train to get into central Amsterdam. The train is the easiest for light packers and is part of the Amsterdam public transport system, which means you can use the OV Chip Card instead of paying for a ticket.

The OV Chip Card should be the first thing you purchase when arriving in Amsterdam, giving you unlimited access to all the public transport links including the metro, trains, trams and trains. You can purchase a OV Chip Card at the many ticket machines found at train and metro stations. It really is the easiest way to get about and offers fantastic value for money, just remember that when you are using the bus or tram to scan your card when getting on and again when you leave. Failing to check back out can lead to your card not working for the next leg of your journey so be aware!

There is something that we can’t emphasise enough however when it comes to traveling in Amsterdam. STAY OUT OF THE CYCLE LANES!! Unlike most cities in the world, Amsterdam gives cyclists the right of way over pedestrians and there is a LOT of cyclists to avoid. 32% of people cycle in the city, with 490,000 people covering 2,000,000km every day!

The cycle lanes are usually beside the pedestrian path and can be hard at first to understand the importance of staying out of them. When there are no cycle lanes, near the canals or old town for example, the cyclists take to the cobbled roads. If you hear a bell, look around and move. The bikes are quick and they won’t stop for you, so stay safe and stay clear of the lanes. Should you want to join the cyclists, you can hire bikes on almost every street!

Activities to do in the day…

ADE Conference

ADE Conference is a string of events held in and around the DeLaMar Theatre. The aim of the conference platform is help guests hear from industry leaders about a whole range of subjects. From beat making, to environmental issues, there’s a conference for everyone. Conferences are extremely popular however so make sure you arrive early to any talk you wish to attend to guarantee a space, also to attend conferences you will need the correct ADE ticket so make sure you have this before making the journey!

ADE Conference

ADE Sound Lab

ADE Sound Lab is a building dedicated to all things gear! With gear related conferences at it’s heart the space also occupies the gear test lab where you can get your hands on the latest and best equipment from both DJ and Production hardware companies. Pioneer DJ have a dedicated room with all their gear to get hands on with, plus live performances from AAA DJ’s throughout the day!


ADE is a brilliant place to network and build your network, no matter your profession. Throughout the week there are a whole host of official and unofficial brunches, open days and networking spaces to delve into and get to know like minded professionals who can help boost your status. The key to successful marketing is to spend sometime online before you arrive, searching out the right events to help your goals. Thankfully the ADE website has a fantastic tool to help find all the official networking spaces and a most companies also list events on facebook prior to the week.

Be a Tourist!

You are never short of things to do in Amsterdam, from museums to stunning architecture and art displays. Get a picture for your instagram on the canal bridges or waste an afternoon in a coffee shop! The choices are endless and it only take a few minutes from leaving a ADE event to find yourself rubbing shoulder with other tourists in the beautiful city.

Activities to do in the night…

ADE Festival

The festival side of ADE is the worlds largest for electronic music, with over 140 venues hosting 2,5000 DJ’s and acts! The week is jam packed full of amazing events and nights which will leave you feeling inspired, if not a little hungover by the morning! From old factories and warehouses, to smaller intimate venues, there is an event to suit every mood! It’s important to make a plan of the events you’d like to visit as at peak times it can be difficult to get into some parties. Tickets can be booked before all the official events and the ADE website has a helpful guide to help you plan your week.

Private Parties

Many companies, record labels and brands host their own mixer events and parties. These are usually invite only but if you can spend some time networking before ADE you could easily find yourself on the guest list at some pretty cool venues. Our advice here is to seek out people before ADE via social network, Linkedin and by using the fantastic ADE delegates system.

Be a Tourist!

Once again, you will never find yourself short of things to do in Amsterdam late at night. From coffee shops and bars to late night museums and shows. Experience first hand why Amsterdam earned its self the famous nickname, the city of sin!

Should I go to ADE?

Amsterdam is a stunning, clean, efficient city that is worth visiting at anytime of the year, the fact it hosts such an amazing festival adds to the many reasons that everyone involved in nightlife should visit ADE. Be under no illusions, ADE for all its opportunities will not turn you into a superstar after one visit. However the experience of visiting alone is well worth the expense, we are yet to hear a bad experience from those who have attended.

Do ADE right and you will create and develop relationships with other industry heavyweights that will no doubt become valuable in the future. This is especially true if you’re a producer. Producers will no doubt meet the teams behind music labels both large and small plus the hundreds of talks held by other producers throughout the conferences are great for inspiration and insight. For the DJ’s amongst us, ADE offers a great opportunity to get inspired and learn more about your craft, speaking to and getting hands on with the biggest and best brands from around the world. Networking with bookers, agents and other DJ’s can also be invaluable as you build your reputation and standing within the scene.

We would highly recommend ADE to any body within the night life scene, just take your time and plan your trip carefully to maximise your time well with the advice above. There’s certainly no point wasting your time there with the endless opportunities around every corner!

Crossfader visits ADE 2019


Join The Discussion

  1. Karan

    I’m interested in visiting the ADE festival, but I’m from India. Do i need a visa for that?

    • Jamie Hartley

      You will have to check on their government website as I’m not at liberty to state whether you will need a visa for the trip.


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