It’s six in the afternoon, the sun is shining and Club Bret in Amsterdam-West is vibrating from the garden to the rooftop bar with beats and excitement. About five hundred people dance, drink and try to make themselves understood above the music. ‘Disco Total’ is the name of the party. Visitor Iskander Settels (27) says that he has a white John Travolta suit in the wardrobe. He’ll put that on later, when he’s even more in the mood. He nods knowingly at his beer.
It’s called ‘early peaking’, or ‘day-dances’. Now that clubs and cafes have to close at midnight – due to the corona rules – the center of gravity of going out has been shifted from night to daytime. At Club Bret, right next to Sloterdijk Station, the party started this Saturday at two o’clock in the afternoon, and a line of dance enthusiasts immediately formed in front of the three-storey building. Josefine Osman (47) drinks a glass of water in Bret’s garden. She couldn’t get to the bar, it’s that busy. The atmosphere in combination with the daylight reminds her of a festival. She looks around: “All happy people.” Abigail (27, does not want to use her last name in the newspaper) stands in line for the toilet. In the past period she has ‘missed dancing’, normally she goes out several nights a week. She’s been here for a few hours, and she’s been dancing non-stop.
They can stay until eleven o’clock, at midnight everything must be clean and empty. Iskander and his friends are already discussing where they are going next. Because at eleven o’clock he is “not ready yet”, they are probably organizing a house party with him.
Tonight I’ll be in bed at about one o’clock and I’ll be fresh tomorrow
Abigail doesn’t mind that she has to stop early. “I have a busy job. Tonight I’ll be in bed at about one o’clock and I’ll be fresh again tomorrow. A great combination.”
This ‘new clubbing’ will also become the norm during the international dance festival that will take place in Amsterdam next week: Amsterdam Dance Event. After last year’s digital edition, ADE can now be performed live again. Although the hundreds of parties and events that normally take place at night, will now take place during the day. ADE, the largest dance festival in the world, had less than a month to organize the program, which also had to take into account the early closing.
Jan Willem van de Ven and Meindert Kennis, who together form the ADE management, say: “On September 14 it became clear that the festival could continue, with the restriction that the clubs close at noon. That means we had three and a half weeks to arrange the logistics.” Van de Ven: “We worked very hard. All clubs and organizations had to apply for their permits. Both the organizers and the municipality have committed themselves to this, often well into the night.”
ADE is a global platform for electronic music, which includes a large number of organisers, artists and venue owners. Kennis: “If we say: it will continue, then those people have to get to work. And now everything had to be moved to the day. Artist managers had to change gigs, tour managers had to rebook airline tickets, suppliers had to change times.” Van de Ven: “But everyone is doing their best. The sector is resilient and flexible.”
Because the ADE performances are now from 2 p.m., the conference part for the professional guests, in other words the panel discussions and meeting opportunities that fill the day program in other years, will be cancelled. This also means that the role of Felix Meritis, on Keizersgracht, as headquarters will lapse. In 1996 ADE started as a business conference, dressed up with a few performances. Although that ratio had now been reversed, the business aspect is still vital.
Robert Deutsch is a programmer for event organization Loveland, which has eight events at the festival this year. Deutsch: „ADE has also been a success as a business event, because everyone wants to present themselves here. As an artist or party organizer you know that many important international bookers and agents are present. If they see your show, chances are they will book you for international performances.”
Not sixty appointments
Deutsch itself normally has about sixty appointments with international colleagues at ADE. “Then I talk to bookers during the day about the upcoming season, and I attend my events at night.” He has about four to five appointments this year, he says. “I don’t have time for more. If I organize a party during the day, I have to be there.” That he cannot discuss next season is not a problem. “I have already completed the program for the summer of 2022”, he laughs, “that of 2020!”
For Kennis and Van de Ven, who have been director since November 2019, it will be their first real ADE. Van de Ven: “We recently attended a party together and for the first time in twenty months we experienced what it is like to experience music with many people at the same time.” For five days, 350 performances, at more than a hundred locations, can be visited. Van de Ven: “At ADE we hope to ensure that hundreds of thousands of visitors can have that experience again. It is such a big difference with last period, we are really looking forward to that.”