Your Essential Guide To ADE

4 min read
Oct 6, 2023 12:22:40 PM

Amsterdam Dance Event is one of the most important events in the electronic music calendar, and can be a real catalyst for career advancement, new opportunities, friendships and more.

At LabelRadar, we consider ourselves to be "ADE Veterans", having attended for almost a decade, and learning a lot along the way, which we're going to share with you here. Whether it's the insightful panels, exciting shows, extensive networking opportunities, or something else that takes you to Amsterdam, we've got you covered. No matter if you're a first-timer, or a Veteran yourself, hopefully we can help you make the most of your trip!

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail!

OK so perhaps that's a bit too dramatic, as it's almost impossible to "fail" at getting value from ADE, but the more preparation effort you put in, the more you will get out of it. Over 400,000 people descend on Amsterdam for ADE, so expect a lot of competition for attending events and booking accommodation, but also a lot of new friends and relationships to be made! 

Before You Arrive

Starting with where to stay then, the earlier you can book it in the better (duh!) as prices get pretty insane nearer the event itself, and it's worth trying to get a place relatively central. In addition to the city centre, areas to aim for would be Leidseplein (ideal for Melkweg), Amsterdam Oud-West and Grachtengordel (if you're booking early enough). Don't stress too much about getting somewhere too upmarket, as you'll be spending minimal time in your room!

Now, on to the event itself. Preparation begins with the event programme, where you can scope out and cherrypick the most appropriate events for you to attend. There are often times where you'll wish you could clone yourself in order to attend all the things you want to - that's why planning is so important.

Do I need a Pro Pass?

Ultimately, you can still get plenty out of ADE without one, as you can easily set up meetings in the coffee shops or hotels around the city without needing a Pro Pass, but that relies more on your personal network. If you're coming in fresh and wanting to get the most out of being in the city, the Pro Pass is absolutely worth it. Not only do you get access to all the programming and events ADE sets up, but also the delegate database, which will help you identify and set up meetings with the key personnel that are of interest to you.

There are a few different ticket options though, and you might simply want a Lab Pass for example rather than the full Pro Pass, so be sure to research each type here.

Business Cards?

They are fine if you already have a bunch printed and ready to go, but actually using your phone to take down people's numbers, emails etc. is a very effective and more environmentally-friendly approach that tends to work best as long as you're confident in your phone's battery life. Apps like 'HiHello' and other business card simulation apps can also be useful, because it's surprisingly easy for business cards to get lost, and you want to be taking the other person's contact info whenever possible to put YOURSELF in control of the next steps there.

Heads on a Swivel!

If it's your first time in Amsterdam, you'll notice pretty quickly that death by bicycle is very much a possibility if you don't have your wits about you! Whenever you step back out into the streets, or are en-route to an event (it's a lovely city to walk your way around), be wary of where the cycle lanes are and keep an eye out for fast-moving bicycles as there are a lot of them and they do not discriminate!

Pace Yourself

It's easy to get carried away with the sheer scale of opportunity at ADE and end up going too hard on the first night, leaving yourself in a very diminished capacity for the remaining days/nights. By all means, make the most of attending, but try to keep something in the tank for the second and third days at least!

Check Your Data Plan

Being caught out abroad with no data is going to severely hamper your ability to get full value out of ADE, and you also don't want to be stung with a massive data roaming bill either. Some venues have WiFi, so it's not the end of the world, but it's worth checking your data plan so you know where you stand with using your phone and data in The Netherlands - most companies offer travel data packages these days.

Prep Your Pockets / Bag 

You can't go wrong if you have plasters (sore feet are common), antacids (eating and drinking at obscure times of day is pretty much a given), earplugs (tinnitus is just not worth the risk and these events will be LOUD), a portable charger (dead phones are not the one) and a bottle of water (hydration is key).


Keep in mind that each year you attending and grow your relationships/network, you're investing in making the subsequent year even better as you'll find you get advance invites to exclusive mixers, showcases and more, so if you're hustling in your first year, just know that subsequent years will only get easier. 

And finally...

In amongst all the meetings, panels, showcases, mixers, and everything else, don’t forget to enjoy yourself! You're in a beautiful city, there's amazing music all around you, with delicious food available on most streets. Try to set aside some time to soak Amsterdam in too, as it's all too easy to find yourself dashing around and not actually taking in your environment. Simply find your own rhythm with it and you can't go too far wrong from there :)

We hope to see you there!