ADE 2023: Unveiling the Highs and Lows of Amsterdam Dance Event

One month ago, I penned this article about ADE 2023, building excitement for the much-anticipated Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 2023.

For a bit of context, this marked my seventh visit to the ADE in the Netherlands. Each year I have enjoyed the music and been surprised by the performances.

Promising an electrifying experience with over 200 venues, 1,000 events, and 2,500 artists, the event lived up to its reputation.

Now that ADE has concluded, it’s time to delve into the reality of the festival. While some moments soared, others left us a bit underwhelmed.

In this follow-up review, I’ll explore the contrasting experiences at two standout events – Maceo Plex and Solomun.

Ed Bergmann

Maceo Plex: A Rollercoaster of Emotions.

Maceo Plex’s set started on a high note with deep hypnotic breaks and underground beats, captivating us and the crowd for two joyous hours. It was a gritty drum and bass musical journey that resonated with the soul and encapsulated the essence of ADE and electronic music. However, this euphoria was interrupted as the set unexpectedly veered into almost trance territory. This left us and the crowd slightly deflated and bewildered, yearning for the earlier magic.

This is a poignant reminder that even the finest DJs may occasionally stray from their musical course, attempting to cater excessively to the crowd’s expectations and losing their signature groove. We patiently awaited those elusive, monumental breaks and the return of the infectious groove until 3 a.m.

Let me be clear; during that hour, some outstanding tunes were undoubtedly spun. Nonetheless, we ultimately decided to leave, hopeful that the event would rediscover its original underground vibe, reminiscent of its initial promise in that unique car park setting.

However, the organizational aspect of the Audio Obscura – Maceo Plex event, unfortunately, turned out to be the most disheartening aspect of the night. Getting into the venue was an ordeal, testing the patience of us and fellow attendees. The queue system was a disaster, with only two queues allowing people in, and some individuals bypassing lines without repercussions. Rain added to the misery, and the security team seemed indifferent to the chaos. Basic measures like traffic cones and efficient security coordination were sorely lacking, a stark contrast to the high standards typically associated with Audio Obscura events.

Maceo plex

Solomun: A Tale of Two Experiences

Solomun’s gig at Awakenings in Zigo Dome was a refreshing break from the norm.

The event was impeccably organized, featuring minimal queues and a helpful, substantial security presence.

The venue and production were top-notch, creating a fantastic atmosphere for attendees.

However, Solomun’s set for the first 2 hours left me wanting a little bit more, I went into the venue and had high expectations.

While he is undoubtedly a maestro of melodic and deep house music, this performance felt somewhat lacking in originality.

I enjoyed it for the most part, but it seemed in parts he leaned heavily on tracks inspired by a bygone era (the hard-edged house of the late ’90s) rather than pushing boundaries with fresh sounds.

Notably, this was my first ADE experience sober, which provided a very different festival perspective.

Solomun at awakenings in zigo Dome - ADE 2023

Zigo Dome:

Among the ADE highlights, the Zigo Dome venue stood out as the pinnacle of our journey. It was meticulously organized with precision, creativity, and efficiency.


Amsterdam Dance Event 2023 was a mixed bag of emotions. The overall trip was fantastic, Maceo Plex and Solomun’s sets were solid to the average ear, offering a rollercoaster of musical styles. Solomun’s performance at Zigo Dome provided a well-organized yet somewhat predictable experience. It was our first visit to Zigo Dome, and I was thoroughly impressed with Awakening’s professionalism.

ADE continues, to be an unmissable event for electronic music enthusiasts and industry professionals. It’s a place to forge connections, experience musical performances, and immerse oneself in the heart of electronic music culture. While Solomun’s performance at Awakenings may not have been the most original, it still left an indelible mark on the ADE 2023 experience. As the countdown begins for next year’s event, one thing is clear – ADE will continue to evolve, offering highs and lows that keep electronic music enthusiasts yearning for more.

Words by Ed Bergmann

Photos by Lola B & Ed Bergmann


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