What involves organising a dance event?

DJ Martin Garrix organises his own show in RAI Amsterdam during the Amsterdam Dance Event. “These events are a real celebration, including for the venue,” says business development manager Ellen Dekker. Dance events are becoming more and more complex, and organisers have more and more things to consider.

I think it is fantastic that these kinds of large-scale performances are held in our convention centre. Public events give us a lot of freedom to experiment. The newest trends and innovations often begin in the consumer business and are later implemented in the business to business sphere. I’ve been working on consumer events for many years now and see several clear new trends. With the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) this week, I’d like to zoom in on dance music in particular. Electronic dance music (EDM) is popular with a broad audience, in all age categories and walks of life. DJs are often found in the upper echelons of the top 40 and the dance music world is growing, both in size and in quality. This places high demands on organisers.

DJ brands
A DJ rarely gives a 'normal' concert nowadays. DJs have become brands that offer a comprehensive experience. For instance, during his ‘Armin Only’ show, Armin van Buren plays long sets combined with dance, live music and theatre. The same goes for Martin Garrix, who has his own show at our convention centre during ADE for the second time. Martin creates a unique atmosphere during these carefully orchestrated events.

DJs being brands means that they are good at organising their agenda and carefully choosing the events which suit them. They don’t like to perform at festivals and venues in the same period and/or region too often – that would be a kind of overkill, exposing their brand to inflation. Exclusivity increases the valuation.

Festivals are the big winners
It will have escaped no one that festivals are the major points of growth in the events industry: for instance, in 2016 there were 934 festivals in the Netherlands, almost a hundred more than the year before. Over 70% of these are music festivals. The variety and intensity of the experiences linked to festivals are a hit with the audiences. They provide moments during which people can breathe more freely, indulge a different side of their personality and immerse themselves completely in the ideal atmosphere for them. Our convention centre is clearly experiencing this development too: our structure, with a number of different halls, is increasingly used for indoor events with multiple stages.

Visitors are looking for extremes
The sheer number of festivals and other events means that consumers are becoming spoilt for choice and can be quick to lose interest. This is why you often see such breathtaking stages and various art performances at the festivals. Tomorrowland in Belgium, for example, is a spectacular multi-day experience, with big names, a very international audience, theatrical sets and tailored entertainment. Mysteryland features more different dance genres and a mysterious décor. Both pay enormous attention to detail and a magical vibe which exuberantly celebrates the harmony among festivalgoers.

Every event has its own feel and crowd. The most successful ones have a strong bond with their community which they maintain online throughout the year, via community platforms, blogs, vlogs and an active presence on social media. These are strong brands.

Things to look out for
All these developments mean that public events are facing more and more financial and practical challenges. What are the things to which you should pay special attention?

  1. The concept must be crystal clear
    Consumers have a huge range of options for spending their leisure time. They invest time and money in your event and want something unique in return. It is therefore of the utmost importance that your event make clear for whom it is intended, what kind of atmosphere it will have, the type of music being played, and the experience visitors can expect. This is done not just through traditional channels, but also, and especially, via your community. Video clips, vlogs and guest appearances are all ways to keep your brand alive and increase loyalty.
  2. You need good partners
    No public event can be organised without sponsors. When setting up a new event, it is important to connect to key stakeholders from the outset who can carry a part of the event. Find sponsors that fit your brand and speak to your target audience. Next to a main sponsor, you should also look for good secondary sponsors and media partners who can play a key role in attracting visitors.
  3. Keep your audience safe
    Wherever large groups of people congregate, there are risks. Pay careful attention to crowd control before, during and after the event. Make sure that there are enough entrances and people don’t have to wait in long queues on the street. When establishing your programming, think about the distribution of the rooms and the movements that will occur between them. In case of an early event, make sure it ends before public transport stops working in the evening. Conversely, make sure that late events end as public transport starts running again in the morning. Where necessary, provide shuttle transportation to public transport and parking locations. Avoid people descending on the city in swarms or loitering around the location.

Organise the lines of communication in case of emergencies and plan a moment every hour to briefly confer with key persons such as the event manager, security, catering and the fire brigade. Let the venue give you advice on all these issues: they know the local authorities and circumstances, and have a lot of experience.

A great outlook
A well-organised event means that visitors will notice none of the many efforts undertaken behind the scenes by the organisers. It's a party where everything works and one that people talk about for a long time after. I’m already looking forward to Martin Garrix’s concert on 20-21 October. It will be a highlight in an already wonderful calendar, which also includes theatrical productions, festivals, food events, vlogger events and e-sports. And that's just a selection of the many shows that I’ll be working with. Tune in next time for more news from the ever-changing world of events.

Ellen Dekker

Ellen Dekker

Ellen Dekker | LinkedIn | RAI Amsterdam | New Business | B2C | Public events | Theatre | Growth | Business Development | Passion

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