It was a warm Istanbul afternoon when I found out about my business trip to Amsterdam. I suddenly became excited because Amsterdam is one of my favourite cities, and I decided to spend the weekend there. There are two things I generally do when I travel: I check out local events, and I use Couchsurfing. This time I hit the jackpot with both as the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) was about to start that week and I managed to find two perfect hosts without any trouble.
I thought I couldn’t be luckier (since I am a HUGE electronic music fan) until I realize that almost all of the tickets were sold out. I tried to comfort myself by telling myself that if it wasn’t for my meeting, I would not be going there at all.
I received my first good news while drowning my sorrow in a bucket of ice cream–my first host had gotten us tickets for the Friday night ADE event at Paradiso. Have you ever been to Paradiso? It is a former church and current music venue on the border of Leidseplein. It’s worth a visit if you happen to travel to Amsterdam.
Then came the second piece of good news–my second host had gotten us tickets for Cello Biënnale. I love music, and I love classical music but I hadn’t been to a classical concert before so I was even more excited than before. I was counting down the hours until I finished my meetings and was able to start enjoying the town.
Just then, one of my managers interrupted my daydream with a question. “Hey, Deniz. We got tickets to the Amsterdam Music Festival. Would you like to go?”
In life, it is important to consider your decisions first before making up your mind but if someone ever offers you tickets to AMF, say yes–a big fat YES. I did just that, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. It is funny how your life can change in a few days, or hours. Fortunately, this time, it was all in good ways.
Everyone already knows that Amsterdam is one of the cradles of electronic music and ADE is basically a five-day Christmas for grown ups. There were about 300 events and 2,000 DJs, and the city was partying 24/7. I had to wait on a long queue at the door but in the end it was nothing but a great experience.
The music and shows were simply perfect. The light show made it even better. Lasers reflected off of the stained glass and the crowd enjoyed themselves under a sacred luminary. There was one problem though–it was way too crowded. For someone who does not like a close encounter, it was not the ideal place but everyone was respectful (as much as they could be).
If you are a Dutch, you’ve probably already attended several ADE events. But if you are from anywhere else and traveling to Amsterdam in mid-October, make sure to buy your tickets to ADE. I left the party around 3 AM to make sure I had enough energy for the upcoming events.
Cello Biënnale was at Muziekgebouw, which is an impressive concert hall for classical music. It is pretty close to Amsterdam Centraal Station so getting there is no problem at all. As I said, it was my first classical music concert so I went there with zero expectations. But I can only define the night in one word: impressive.
Seeing all of the musicians dancing with their instruments was a great experience. And it was not like an oh-we-stand-still-and-watch kind of event at all. Giovanni Sollima who is the Jimi Hendrix of cello was a legend. Ernst Reijseger was a close second.
I was sitting in the front row (thanks to my host!), and I did not even blink for a second because I didn’t want to miss anything. If you also enjoy classical music but are not enthusiastic enough to go to a concert, simply get rid of your preconceptions and check out the upcoming events in your town. It will be worth it, I promise.
The last group of the night was an African percussion group called, Groove Lélé, made up of a family of singers and percussionists, and they made sure that everyone went wild. I had no expectations when I went to Muziekgebouw, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great organization it was when I left.
But the night was just getting started so my host and I took the train to Amsterdam Arena, the largest stadium in the Netherlands and the home of Ajax. I have to admit that it was the most unusual night I’ve ever had but it only took 30 seconds to get into party mood.
After ADE and Cello Biënnale, AMF was the climax of musical satisfaction. There were several entrances, which made it easy and quick to get in (congratulations to the organisers!). Despite the crowd, the facilities were big enough to fit everyone. We did not need to wait for hours to get drinks or snacks. It was also the night when the DJ Mag Top 100 DJ 2014 list was announced, so we had the chance to enjoy the night with best DJs in the world; W&W, Wildstylez, Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Dash Berlin, Armin van Buuren and #1 Hardwell.
I thought I wouldn’t manage to stay up all night considering I had a hangover and was tired from the busy work schedule but all of those beats just boosted my energy. There were people from each and every corner of the world there (80 different countries according to my Google search). The crowd at Paradiso was kind of disturbing after a while but we were in a gigantic stadium, and everyone had her own space to dance and drink, to laugh and to have fun. You can find some videos on Youtube (hooray)!
The sound system was absolutely great so even when I moved to a dark corner of the stadium, the quality of the music remained the same. The lasers and the light shows were fantastic too. So, it was not only an audial joy but also a visual one.
I had the most random weekend of my life, which was so full of musical perfection at Amsterdam’s music festivals that I am already counting down the days until the next AMF. Who knows, maybe I’ll see you there.
This article was originally published at Pink Pangea.com.