Amsterdam Dance Event Still On, Despite Dutch Minister’s Ruling on Mass Gatherings

Dutch Health Minister Hugo de Jonge’s statement on Thursday that massive events will “only possible once there is a vaccine” for COVID-19 seemingly spelled doom for the Netherland’s dance music festivals. But Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), one of the biggest electronic music gatherings in the world, reportedly isn’t pulling the plug just yet. 

An anonymous spokesperson for Mojo, the Netherlands’s largest concert and festival organizer, told Dutch online newspaper that they are continuing to prepare for ADE and other events for the time being.

“We are continuing with the preparations and want to talk to the government about whether De Jonge’s announcement is final,” the Mojo spokesperson said. “We want clarity first.”

In a letter to the Dutch parliament on a phased approach to relaxing Holland’s coronavirus lockdown, de Jonge wrote

“For the last step, the massive events with a national appearance, we cannot yet give a date … Actually, that is only possible once there is a vaccine and no one knows how long it will take. Of course we hope for soon, but a year or more is very likely.” 

ADE, which drew 400,000 fans from 146 countries last year, is scheduled for October 21 to 25 of this year. The massive event, which includes Amsterdam Music Festival, “will look different this year,” the Mojo spokesperson said. “How exactly, we can’t say that yet. So much is changing so fast right now.”

The spokesperson added that Mojo has taken into account that Dutch events are banned until September 1. But de Jonge’s letter “was quite a shock.”

“Of course health is paramount, but we had already planned how we could organize events in the Ziggo Dome and AFAS Live with the one-and-a half meter rule and all travel restrictions,” the spokesperson said. “For example, there would only be Dutch artists.”  

The spokesperson said that Mojo does not have a direct line with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and RIVM public health institute Director Jaap van Disselto know what will happen next.” Mojo has many questions. What events are considered to have a national appearance? Only concerts and festivals or theaters too? What will the maximum number of people allowed in a venue be by August?

Other Massive Dutch Events In Play

Mojo, which also organizes Pinkpop, Lowlands and North Sea Jazz Festival, isn’t alone in dismay over de Jonge’s statement. Dutch record label Revealed Recordings’ label manager Sebastien Lintz tweeted that the vaccine could take six months to two years. That means “a huge blow for the event industry in The Netherlands,” Lintz wrote.

The Netherlands is home to many of dance music’s biggest artists, including Armin van Buuren – who postponed his five ‘This Is Me’ and ‘This is Blah Blah Blah’ shows at the Ziggo Dome to May 20-23, 2021. At the time, Pentecost weekend 2021 seemed far enough in the future to be in the safe zone. But with the vaccine as the timeline, even 2021 is up in the air.   

For dance music fans, Mojo’s willingness to move forward until there is an official government order represents a sliver of hope for ADE. Time will ultimately tell.