I was retired from music festivals. The days of standing between sweaty bodies rubbing up against each other in increasingly clothe-less mosh pits was over. Spending what seemed like hours waiting to reach the mythical front of queue with 20,000 other people screaming for drinks was just a distant memory. The tired impossible walk home when trying to out-smart the other 30,000 looking for a taxi? Wouldn’t have to go through that again…
Or so I thought!!
Every year comes an event in Amsterdam, appropriately named, the Amsterdam Dance Event. It’s a collection of international and local acts, events spread all over the city in clubs and bars and of course big parties/music festivals hosted in large Arenas (Amsterdam Arena). Amsterdam is of course known as one of the party capitals of the world, not only for it’s controversial and well-known red light district and coffee shops, but also because of it’s incredible range of night venues, liberal drug laws and of course world famous DJs – think Armin and Tiesto!
Over the past 5 months or so living here, I had managed to have a few nice nights with friends exploring the before-mentioned night venues, but I had remained in general and proudly in retirement. I always felt like I had grown out of those large crowds and loud music, a natural progression of my age and maturity I like to think. Over the summer, Amsterdam was a festival orgy, and by that I mean that there were festivals everyday, every weekend and eveywhere, but again, I had proudly attended mostly the food festivals and stayed quite clear of crazy head-ache inducing parties. Summer went by in a flash, the beautiful sun sprinting off down under towards my family and friends, leaving the ice cold grey draped back over us in typical Amsterdam fashion…so in my mind, I had survived the festival season largely unscathed…
Enter from left stage the ADE.
Probably the last big party before the entire country goes into Hibernation, the ADE also coincided with the arrival of some of my Australian friends. My cousins on their honeymoon, Kiran who I had known from Canberra and was also a dear friend of my cousin, and Will and his gf. The other coincidence is that Kiran and Will, along with some others really wanted to go to the ADE and had planned as such. Being the good friends that they are, they completely ignored my consistent replies of no, I’m retired and hell no, no way I’m going and went ahead and bought me a ticket to the Friday event at the Amsterdam Arena. Although my consistent and clear protests fell on deaf ears, and I really didn’t want to go, I couldn’t say no as I knew the deaf ears came from a good place and that it would be fun to maybe see what a festival is like in Amsterdam…
And it was completely different then in Australia!
Everybody (bar a few outliers) wore clothes. Drinks were easy to get. The environment was nice and friendly. No pointless intimidating policemen! And…wait, no we still had to wait for cabs (and didn’t even get one in the end!).
I won’t describe the festival in full but I survived my return to the music festival world, I enjoyed the glaring lights and loud music and the senseless dancing with friends (of course throw in those D and Ms and it brought back a lot of memories). So thanks Kiran, Rahul and Will for dragging me out and into the middle of your shuffling. I’m still though, for future reference, retired.