3 x Amsterdam dance music pioneers
As Amsterdam Dance Event takes over the city for another blistering five days of electronic music, meet three of Amsterdam’s leading lights of the scene.
THE FESTIVAL PIONEER: Sander Groet
In 1993, then student Sander Groet, now owner of Club AIR and Founding Partner of the A’DAM Tower, created Mysteryland, the first electronic music festival in The Netherlands in 1993. ‘Dance was becoming a big thing in Dutch clubs, so I wanted to bring dance lovers outdoors’, he says. ‘A household name for all dance music fans, Mysteryland grew into a phenomenon with replicas in the US and Chile, and a Belgian counterpart, Tomorrowland. ‘Dutch festival culture is unique. People here are creative, entrepreneurial and very professional in organizing’, Groet concludes. With more than 300 festivals hosted each year, Amsterdam is living proof of this creative spirit.
YOUNG SUPERSTAR: Martin Garrix
This 20-year-old DJ and producer cut his teeth in local clubs such as AIR before taking the global dance festival circuit by storm. Born Martijn Gerard Garritsen in the leafy Amsterdam suburb of Amstelveen, the house wunderkind was inspired to make his own beats after watching Tiësto perform at the 2004 Olympics opening ceremony. In his spare time, he hangs out with bestie Justin Bieber and makes his 7.4 million Instagram followers jealous with his jetset lifestyle. Catch 2015’s third most popular DJ in the world during a two-night bash at this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event, one of which is ADE’s only all-ages event of the year.
TECH HOUSE INNOVATOR: DJ Isis
This Amsterdam born-and-bred tech house DJ started out at the tender age of 17 with a residency at the legendary RoXY. During more than two decades in the business, Isis chalked off highlights such as opening for Prince (RIP) in 1992, mixing at the 2000 edition of the prestigious Holland Festival, playing for 100,000 people at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Summit. As Night Mayor of Amsterdam between 2010 and 2012, Isis nurtured local nightlife by fostering the dialogue between the municipality, entrepreneurs, artists and clubgoers. She’s still part of an expert team – led by mayor Eberhard van der Laan – that grants 24-hour licenses to cultural venues.
Words: Catalina Iorga for A-Mag