This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Amsterdam Music Festival held at the monstrous and legendary Amsterdam ArenA. An incredible one night festival, 35,000 people from across the world united to celebrate the end of the Amsterdam Dance Event as well as the count down to crowning DJ Mag’s Top 100 winners.
I was fortunate enough to travel all the way from Vancouver, Canada for this incredible event. A short, stacked four day trip turned into an experience I’ll never forget, in a city I’m missing already.
The line up included major names like Hardwell, David Guetta, Martin Garrix, Armin Van Buuren, W&W and Wildstylez. Having been to festivals in Amsterdam before, I sort of knew what to expect. What I didn’t know was that every single performer was bringing their absolute A-game. I’ve never witnessed an array of artists, one after the other, who genuinely cared and expressed themselves with such a talent. It was like this event was the biggest of the year for each one of them and the sets were heart-wrenchingly emotional, energetic and so blissful I never wanted it to end.
Being in Amsterdam for four days taught me a couple things about the Dutch. So here are five reasons why I learned that the Dutch do it better.
The opener for a festival this size was Dash Berlin
The opener for festivals here in North America are usually smaller names and typically there’s 10 people in the crowd there to witness them playing. Not at AMF. We walked in half way through Dash Berlin’s set and the crowd was already going off. People in Holland seem to understand what partying really means: staying from open to close. The stamina these people have is admirable and those who go home early are seen as failures. So if you want to party with the Dutch, make sure you’ve had a good night sleep the night before and plenty of sustenance to keep yourself going.
The majority of the top 10 DJ Mag winners are Dutch
It might receive a lot of criticism, but this poll is still the largest of its kind and it’s still based on fans’ votes. Regardless of the stigmas, year after year, the majority of the top 10s are Dutch. It’s like they’re this one big happy family who support each other in their careers. It’s quite amazing actually to see so many talented people come out of one area of the world and not be threatened by one another.
The atmosphere was mind-altering and euphoric
Something amazing about this festival was that we didn’t even know the line up. It all depended on who won the top spot for the DJ Mag poll, but no one cared. Regardless of who was on stage, the entire crowd was as intimate and involved as ever. I have never experienced a more respectful and dedicated crowd as I did at AMF. It seemed everyone was there because they truly loved dance music and wanted to escape and be a part of something as incredible as AMF for a night. Every person I came in contact with was both as excited and grateful as I was to be there, and sharing an experience like that night with people who are on your level is one of the greatest experiences ever.
Holland is small and home to many of these DJs. So seeing them out and about is common and really not a huge deal
There seriously must be something in the water in Holland; maybe it’s the cheese, or those delicious Dutch waffle cookies. Whatever it is, seeing your favourite DJ ride by on a bike is not uncommon, and everyone treats them as if they’re normal people. Which is sometimes something we forget. We’ve been so caught up in creating such a celebrity stigma around these world famous DJs, it’s hard to remember they are just humans. Being in Amsterdam during ADE really reminded me that these people are regular people when off stage, and the way people respect their time and space here is incredible.
The stamina these people have is admirable and those who go home early are seen as failures
The love and respect for dance music culture is unlike anywhere else
Everywhere we went around Amsterdam this past weekend seemed to be filled with dance music culture. From intimate little bars, to clubs, to stores and people on the street, it seemed everywhere was embracing this culture and really giving it a place to call home.
I come from a city where dance music isn’t the first and foremost importance to many people. It’s almost impossible to find more than one or two clubs that even play dance music. That’s why this fascination with the culture is so intriguing to me. These people have grown up with this music and it’s part of them, their family, their friends, and their entire lives.
This is how I feel. But on the other side of the world surrounded by people who just don’t get it. So thank you Holland for showing me there is a place where people feel the same as I do about music, thank you for showing me a place where acceptance is easy and expression is celebrated. I plan on being back as soon as possible.