Amsterdam Dance Event, what's that then?
It's an annual dance music event taking place between 19th and 21st October, slap bang in the centre of Amsterdam - half business conference, half excuse for a piss up.
What, like Miami WMC?
Kind of - if you substitute the palm fronds for an endless web of canals.
It's basically WMC for European dance enthusiasts on a budget.
Or those who have boycotted America for reasons of political protest.
Yep. Because George Bush is really that bothered.
Okay, but there are 'dance music conferences' happening all over Europe now (Seeme, Sonar, Midem, etc) – what makes the Amsterdam Dance Event different?
It's undoubtedly the most established event of its kind in Europe.
It was launched back in 1996 and has been gathering momentum ever since.
Sonar is more of an electronic music showcase, whereas Midem is more of a trade show for record labels – the ADE basically covers everything.
Everything? Like what?
Well, for starters, there are workshops, panels and keynote speeches about all aspects of dance music with various industry figures, artists and DJs - kind of like WMC but more relevant to European markets. If that is your bag.
It is my bag. Give us some examples, then…
Last year topics for discussion included: how to promote your artist, international music publishing, sponsorship, future music markets, artist management, internet downloads and Q&A sessions with top DJs.
This year forums include 'Games, Advertising & Electronic Music', 'The Role of the Manager', 'The Evolution of Media', 'The Artist Debate' and 'The Digital Divide'.
You can find out more details by logging onto www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl
Who exactly will be sitting on these panels?
High-profile guests, usually. Anybody from record label executives to big name DJs.
What kind of people actually go to the ADE conference?
Anybody who is in some way connected to dance music.
Agency reps, festival organisers, club owners, record industry big wigs, distributors, music publishers and hundreds of DJs.
Are places on the workshops and discussion forums limited?
Nope. They are expecting around 2000 delegates this year, but once you have registered you can go along to any forum or workshop you wish.
I've just spent £200 on fancy new business cards. Is there plenty of networking opportunities?
There is a meeting hall at the Felix Meritis Centre (ADE's canal-side HQ) where you can schmooze the day away, telling everybody how great and interesting you are.
The business cards will come in handy later… for when you are skinning up.
How much does it cost to sign up for the ADE?
Late registration costs €240 for the three-day package (it might be worth noting for next year that if you register early you can typically save about €50). Day passes cost €185 each.
How do I register?
You can either register online at www.amsterdam-dance-event.nl or you can download a registration form and post it if you don't trust the internet.
What does registration entitle me to?
Well, apart from the three-day entry to the conference and all facilities at the Felix Meritis Centre, you also get a goody bag (full of CDs and mags and other free stuff), a complimentary 240-page guide to ADE and access to the online ADE database (where you can download full details of all fellow ADE delegates).
Which means you can tap people up before you even arrive.
So what is the deal with the 'festival'? I'm not really into muddy fields…
Don't worry, it's not that kind of festival - you can leave your tent and waterproofs at home.
The ADE Festival is basically a series of events and label showcases that take place in venues all over Amsterdam.
It's the same idea as WMC, conference by day, beats by night.
Cool. So what are the highlights?
The Milk 'n' 2 Sugars ADE party is always a popular choice, as is anything at the Melkweg or Hotel Arena.
Check out our Top 10 ADE recommendations for some other tips.
Does my ADE pass give me access to these events?
If you take advantage of the full registration package - yes. If not, you have to pay as normal.
Right. So how much does it cost if I'm not registered?
Every event is different. You can expect to pay anywhere between €5 and €40.
Probably best to sharpen up your blagging skills and get your haggle on.
Where do I stay? Is all the action in one place?
Nope, it's spread all over Amsterdam.
Which means you probably want to get a fast handle on the 'Dam's tram-system - it's far cheaper than relying on cabs.
Forget about walking unless you know exactly where you are going - every tree-lined canal street with its row upon row of four-storey town houses looks identical to the next.
The Felix Meritis Centre is kind of in the middle of Amsterdam, but you'll need a map to find it.
So where should I stay, then?
Anywhere in the city centre will suffice, but if you contact Amsterdam Business Hotels ([email protected]) they will be able to plonk you as near to Felix Meritis as possible. Plus their service is free.
The Albus Grand Hotel is a good bet - prices start at €115 per night.
For top end luxury, the 5-star Amsterdam American Hotel starts at €150.
Failing that, any old doorway will do.
What's the best way to get to Amsterdam?
If you want to drive then you can get a ferry from Harwich - prices typically start at around £60 each way.
Journey time is between four and six hours.
But Amsterdam is basically one big traffic jam made worse by the impossible-to-navigate one-way system.
Which means it's probably better to fly.
Good - I can't drive anyway. What airport?
You can fly to Amsterdam from every major airport in the UK.
A return flight with easyJet will set you back around £100 - cheaper if you fly at a ridiculous hour of the day, slightly more if you want to fly during peak times.
Our mate Dave can probably do you a pretty good deal, he hangs around outside Kings Cross station on most nights apart from Tuesdays and only accepts cash.
No thanks. Last time your mate Dave sorted us out a deal I had the shits for a week. What do I do when I get to Amsterdam?
All flights go to Schiphol airport, from there get the train to Centraal Station – it's in the heart of Amsterdam and you can grab a taxi to your hotel without any hassle.
What coffee shops would you recommend?
Tsk. There is more to Amsterdam than weed and whores, you know.
There are exhibitions, museums, art galleries and, er, a fusty old attic where some little girl used to write her diary.
Inhale some culture for a change, buddy.
No? Okay then, the Grasshopper is a good place to start.