A twentysomething guide to: Amsterdam Dance Event 2018

October 17th will mark the start of Amsterdam Dance Event, and as a fan of techno music, I’d favour this over Halloween any time of the day. That’s why I’ve written a little guide with everything you’ll need to know for this week full of of dance and debauchery. Whether you’re a self-proclaimed dance veteran, or thought ADE was some kind of illness until now, check out this read to have an unforgettable time in Amsterdam.


Back in 1995, Amsterdam Dance Event started out as an electronic music conference. The 90’s marked the start of the dance music obsession in the Netherlands, and the conference was meant boost the business-side of the industry. Fast forward more than two decades, Amsterdam Dance Event has grown into the “leading electronic music platform and the biggest club festival in the world for the whole spectrum of electronic sub-genres.” Think five days, 2,500 artists, 400K visitors, scattered across 200 of the most unique locations in the city of Amsterdam.

Hardwell, Tiësto, Martin Garrix: the Dutch world of dance has a phenomenal global reputation with some of the best and most popular DJ’s being born and raised here in the Netherlands. What’s in the water here, that turns young men into such naturally talented producers? ADE is definitely a home game for these big names, but do expect loads of international superstars joining too.

Artist playing at Amsterdam Dance Event


Yes, the off-the-wall concentration of musical artists in one city is fabulous, but becoming overwhelmed with choice paralysis and FOMO by scrolling through an endless list of events is inevitable. That’s why I asked my friend & event organiser Denys to hand over his selection of must-see shows.

Pleinvrees: It’s that time of year again! At our annual October family reunion the Pleinvrees-family gathers in Amsterdam for some much needed quality time. The classic WesterUnie with its three industrial halls serve as the perfect place of business.  To kick things off, we welcome back the ‘masters of melody’ Hungry Music at their home away from home. Olivier brings the Weiter-gang for the first day of this year’s Pleinvrees ADE trilogy. Well begun is half done!

DGTL: DGTL returns to the well-known Scheepsbouwloods for this year’s ADE. The Friday will be hosted by Paradise, Saturday by Outlier, but on Thursday DGTL is in full control. In order to match the industrial vibe of the Scheepsbouwloods, DGTL has invited no other than Nina Kraviz, Jeff Mills, Bicep [live], Floorplan, and many othes.

Free Your Mind: On Thursday October 18th, Free Your Mind Festival is presenting three label showcases in one single event at Amsterdam’s beloved Thuishaven terrain. Hernan Cattaneo’s label Sudbeat, Nick Warren’s Soundgarden imprint, and Audiofly’s Flying Circus are joining forces. Expect to see many of the usual suspects on this Thursday, which is part of Free Your Mind’s anniversary festivities.


So, have you not bought your ticket yet? Tranquilo, there’s always a way. Most events have been sold out due to high demand, but there are still ways to get your hands on those golden tickets without selling your soul.

People will be trying to get rid of their tickets last-minute. Seize that opportunity! Tickeswap is a great platform for buyers and sellers, because you’ll never be paying more than 20% on top of the original ticket price. If you’re lucky, (and this happens quite often) you may be able to get a ticket for a lower price than the event was selling it for.

If you can’t be rich, be smart, am I right?


If we’re all being honest, ADE could also stand for Amsterdam Drug Event, considering how many people see this festival as a legitimate excuse to go on a complete binge. Obviously, this is not the way to go about it, and if you do decide to use, be responsible about it.

Despite the fact that most party drugs are still illegal, the police is generally quite lenient when it comes to Amsterdam Dance Event. If you get busted at the entrance, you’ll have to say bye-bye to your candy and may be denied entrance. If you plan to carry more than 5 pills or 0,5 grams of any substance – don’t! You’ll be risking a serious fine if not prison time, since this will be considered dealing.

Party at indoor venue at Amsterdam Dance Event

If you are planning on taking drugs during the Amsterdam Dance Event, please make sure that you know what you’re taking is safe. We know that this is getting a little bit old now, but there have been fatalities with drugs on ADE before, and do you really want to risk being that person? There will be a number of drug testing facilities available on the spot to make sure you’re good to go.

  • During your trip, be sensible. If you’re not feeling it, don’t suddenly shove an entire pill down your throat!
  • Stay hydrated: interchanging between Coke and water is a good idea. All festivals are required to hand out free water, and there will be first-aid posts at the events to make sure that you’re safe and sound.
  • If you tend to chew off your tongue on a trip, Magnesium is your friend. Take a pill before throwing shapes on the dance floor to relax your muscles and alleviate any pain the next day.
  • Check in with your friends every occasionally to see how they’re doing, even if you (or they) are busy getting completely lost in the music.


Chances are that your day, night, or week of partying will end with a bit of a thud, as you’ll be slung back into reality on Monday morning. Amsterdam will go back to its usual self, (can’t quite speak of a slumber as it is a madhouse 24/7) and you’ll probably be doing the same. We can all agree that post-festival blues suck, even more so with an unbearable hangover.

The cure is pretty straightforward. Grab your Netflix-and-Chill buddy, catch that extra hour of sleep, eat food that’s high in protein and fat (such as avocado, egg, fish and nuts) and exercise yourself happy!

Can you relate? Leave a comment :)