During the Amsterdam Dance Event, whole Amsterdam turns into a Mecca for the dance music industry. No matter if you’re interested in new products by Pioneer for example, interesting speeches and conferences by worldwide known artists or just want to party in one of the hundreds participating venues.

Even more interesting is the Hard Dance Event. A whole day of conferences dedicated to the hard dance music industry. Last year we as Hardstyle Mag were part of the “Hard Talk” panel, together with Hard News, Alive at Night and DJ Mag. This year we’ll be participating as visitors and we are already thrilled. This is our live blog from the Hard Dance Event 2016 in Amsterdam! In case you are here for the DJ Mag Top 100… it’s out and you can check it out here.

07:20 – Hamburg, Germany

Breakfast time! Fresh buns, eggs, marmalade and cheese. Maybe Alive at Night reads it – In case you always wanted to know my breakfast 😉 Yes, I need to admit, my breakfast was great. Two more fresh coffee and I was ready. A 4 hour drive was ahead of me, but I seriously couldn’t wait! Let’s see what Hard Dance Event 2016 is all about.

12:50 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

I arrived in Amsterdam after a fucking long road trip – but hopefully it’s worth it! Now by train off to the central station and finally to the location of Hard Dance Event 2016 – Tolhuistuin Amsterdam. Sadly, I am a little late, the first two conferences were “Artist Logistics” and “Radio Rocks”. These two are followed by “Raw, Rawest, Really Raw” with Phuture Noize and Deetox. A very interesting topic, which is relevant for all hard dance lovers.

Hard Dance Event 2016 HardstyleMag14:10 – Tolhuistuin, HDE

I arrived at the Tolhuistuin. After a quick check in I walked upstairs straight into the hands of a photographer. The ones who follow Hard Dance Event on Facebook know what I am talking about. Free press pics! Well, kind of. In front of an orange banner with all the sponsors and logos we took a quick picture.

A little further you had the first bar. Crowded with lots of artists such as Da Tweekaz, Stephanie, Frontliner, Frequencerz, The Melodyst, Art of Fighters it felt like a huge VIP area at a normal festival. But today, we are not here to party. Hard Dance Event and the whole Amsterdam Dance Event is probably the best way to find new contacts, get to know people, artists and managers of the different organizations and also listen to interesting speeches, conferences and presentations.

The location is pretty cool and way bigger than last year. It offers two huge rooms with panels, a few bars, a restaurant and a business lounge. On two floors you can spot almost everyone who works within the hard dance industry. It’s freaking amazing!

Let’s see who we can meet and have a little chat with!

16:00 – Stage Design

Back in the days stages were basically just cubes, constructions. The DJ was playing in the middle. It was just a way, to give the artist a stage, a place to perform. Nowadays stages tell an own story, they are build way more complexe.

The panel started with a picture of last years Amsterdam Music Festival stage. If you ask me, the stage was next level. They shown a picture of a digital design of the stage. By questioning one of the main people behind Backbone, who was responsible to put the digital design into an actual physical design in the venue we got some pretty nice insights. The creation process took months. Especially “moving parts” are actually very hard to convert into the physical design.

Stagekings speaker Niels van Vijfeijken just shared his thoughts about themed events all over the world. He pointed out, that we are just at the beginning and he expects way crazier stages in the future. Next up the panel lead to the design of this years Dominator theme. The creation process of the stage was explained. First Stagekings received a theme and mood board, with the topic “Mad Max”. And with just this little information, their own designers developed a design.

Q-dance had also a brilliant answer to the question, what materials could be used on a stage? 

If it can’t fall down and burn, you can use it!- Dennis van Harten

Intents Festivals stage was meant to deliver a 360° surround feeling. The build up of the main-stage took about one week. The weekend before, the constructions were made. From monday till thursday the other parts and decoration was added. Intents Festival want to take their visitors into another world. They try to draw a theme as far as possible, which lead them to have special intros for the raw area, djs were “fighting” (playing) vs. each other. A deep “box event” voice announced each round.

To sum up, this was seriously one of the most interesting panels today. Visitors gained a really good insight of the creation process of stages worldwide and especially within the hard dance scene. The story behind a few stages were pretty interesting. Last but not least a prediction of all 5 speakers:

We just reached the beginning. Technology is here to cross boundaries. Currently, they all think about ways to implement moving parts into outdoor stages.

17.00 – Behind The Walls Of Success

First question: Who is responsible for a DJs health and his mental state? Well, the answer is simple. Although an artist does not only consist of the face we all see during events, the artist itself is mainly responsible for himself, for his life, as we all are. Even if it may sound simple, many artist can struggle with the task to maintain a good work life balance. All of the artist in this panel, whether B-Front or Charly Lownoise had the problem of saying no to booking requests. So, it’s in the interest of all involved people around an artist, to stay healthy, try to get normal sleep, learn to say no and listen to your body.

Downsides of being an artist are more than tiredness. Anxiety, loneliness and even crazy psychotic attacks are normal, especially if you become famous. Most of the artist had at least one mental crash, one moment where it was too much – enough! As an artist it’s therefore more important to listen to your brain and body. I’d like to quote Charly Lownoise.

Do not forget about yourself! Do talk about your feelings, emotions and thoughts!- Charly Lownoise

I really liked this panel. The conference and especially the artist were very open to the audience, giving insights about the downsides of being a DJ and artist. It’s not that you fuck girls, drink beer and play music all day long. It’s important to have people around you can trust and talk about real topics. In the end, artists are just human beings.Hard Dance Event 2016 HardstyleMag

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