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Amsterdam Dance Event now goes online all year round

Covid-19 messed up the plans of the two new directors of Amsterdam Dance Event. With a digital platform for electronic music, they are now making a virtue of necessity.

When leaving music label Spinnin ‘Records, Meindert Kennis (43) wrote that he wanted to step out of his comfort zone. More than two years later, you can say that he succeeded – as one of the two current directors of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). Knowledge: “I often thought back to that statement. It has become very far beyond. I really saw stars in the beginning. And that was before Covid. ”

At the end of last year, after the departure of Mariana Sanchotene, he took over the directorship of ADE together with Jan-Willem van de Ven (36). The two only knew each other vaguely, but immediately clicked. “The first three months went so well that we decided to participate in the application procedure.”

They had big plans. As head of marketing, Kennis was already responsible for all digital activities at Spinnin ‘Records. Van de Ven had previously worked at ADE, where he was mainly responsible for the night program. “When I started the night program had about 45 locations and when I left there were about 125.”

The division of roles is quite clear. “We do a lot together, but to put it bluntly: Jan-Willem mainly does offline and I mainly do online,” says Kennis. “In terms of personality, we complement each other well.” Van de Ven, laughing: “Meindert mainly sees problems and I mainly see opportunities.”

Almost all their renewal plans and the extra festivities in honor of the 25th edition of ADE could be put on hold by covid, the two say at a large conference table in their office in Vondel CS. Van de Ven: “We quickly looked at what is possible. That has really gone in all directions: from a fully virtual conference with VR glasses on your head to a hybrid conference or a physical conference with a distance of 1.5 meters in a very large space. Because there was little clarity from the government about what could be done after 1 September, we decided to keep our conference almost completely online. ”

Upload demos and network

After making that decision, the gentlemen had two choices. Kennis: “We could have held our conference on an external online platform and then go back to how it was next year, but we decided to look at what we can add. We have built a kind of LinkedIn network with the same functionality for our conference attendees. So you have a timeline and a feed, events and you can send each other messages. ”

For this, Kennis and Van de Ven looked at the characteristic elements of an ADE conference. “Then you have panels and discussion forums, but the network part is also important. Think about how busy it is during ADE for Felix Meritis with people who come into contact with each other. With this setup we can add that to our platform. ”

There will also be a job board and an online marketplace for buyers and suppliers in the electronic music industry. Van de Ven: “You can think of artists and buyers of music. A demo upload tool also comes in. We have not seen this digital transition of a conference anywhere else. ”

Kennis: “In this way, ADE has a platform with which we can offer content throughout the year, such as panel discussions, studio sessions and interviews, and where people from the sector worldwide can continue to meet. That seemed like a more sustainable solution. ” Knowledge: “The platform is behind a paywall. You can buy a ticket for 75 euros. Then you can go to the conference, but you actually buy a membership for a year. And you also get a 50 euro discount on next year, if hopefully it can be done physically again. ”

Kennis and Van de Ven see clear added value in the platform for the coming years, in addition to a possible physical conference. “Suppose that people can travel less in the future, then we can involve them in ADE in an accessible way, instead of having to wait until they can buy a plane ticket once.”

Hit hard

There were still about 40 physical concert concerts scheduled during this ADE, but due to the tightened corona measures, there are now only a handful. Van de Ven: “We mainly do it to show what is possible during covid, as a hopeful message, but I do not want to diminish the enormous misery that has been poured out over this sector.”

Van de Ven fears for the future of the Dutch dance scene: “It would be terribly wrong for us as a guide country for electronic music if certain indispensable links fall out of the chain. As the Netherlands, we have been working for a long time to acquire such a progressive international position in electronic music. We cannot keep it when all kinds of clubs and halls that are so important for developing new talent fall over. ”

Are there any positive developments in the sector in this corona crisis? That is difficult to say, says Van de Ven. “There is now a general malaise. Maybe we will see more live performances and fewer DJs in the near future. We can already see that at ADE. A performance should now be so exciting that you want to sit there for a longer period of time. And there is a lot of watching live streams, but that is only an addition, not a replacement. ”

Knowledge: “And such a period can also be a period of reflection for many artists, so perhaps this is the seed for creativity and new genres. You see that more often in crises. Maybe in two years’ time we will dance to a completely new movement that has emerged from this. ”

amsterdam-dance-event.nl

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