Every year since I started travelling, I’ve made it a mission to spend my birthday in a different part of the world. I celebrated my 21st birthday in Las Vegas, had Steve Aoki throw a cake in my face in Hong Kong at 22, and partied back stage with Headhunterz in Mexico for 23. This year I was lucky enough to be invited to ASOT900 in the Netherlands by my lovely friends over at ALDA; and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my 24th birthday! I was also joined by one of my best friends, Taylor, who flew over from Chicago for the weekend to celebrate with me!
Celebrating ASOT Festival in Utrecht has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now, and after attending both the Miami and Sydney editions last year, I knew it was time to stop watching the celebration from a live stream. At the end of last year, I was also lucky enough to be invited to party with Armin van Buuren in the sky, where he revealed all the details for ASOT900! So fast forward to February 2019, I’m sitting in Amsterdam about to recap one of the most epic birthday celebrations of my life (so far)!
THE PRE PARTY
My birthday weekend kicked off on Friday where I was finally reunited with Taylor for the first time since October. We’ve literally been speaking every single day for the last five months and I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it was to see her again, not to mention she brought me my favourite American snacks! After an impressive hotel buffet and messy pre-game in our room, we headed out into the city to meet up with some more friends for the official ASOT900 pre party … on a boat!
We somehow ended up on the wrong side of the station even though we were 30 minutes early, and found ourselves running for the ferry at the very last second. We made it onto the ferry with literally seconds to spare and I jumped into my friend William’s arms for the first time in almost a year, as the ramp was literally raising behind me!
The exclusive boat party hosted 1500 people in an up close and personal, intimate setting and featured Ruben De Ronde, Super 8 & Tab, Mark Sixma and Richard Durand, but of course my favourite set of the night was the man himself; Armin van Buuren.
Somehow, we managed to accidentally sleep in until 3pm so there goes a perfectly good day in Amsterdam! After making the trek to Albert Heijn and back for a ridiculously late, poor person’s breakfast, Taylor and I got ready and headed down to Utrecht for the evening. After arriving at Jaarbeurs and adding two new wristbands to my collection, we were escorted into…
THE PRESS CONFERENCE!
Not only was I lucky enough to be invited to my very first ASOT in the Netherlands, I also got to attend the official press conference, and bring Taylor with me as well! I ended up sitting only meters away from Armin van Buuren and was even the first person to ask him a question! I know this sounds super dramatic and I don’t usually fangirl over artists (anymore), but like hi, IT’S ARMIN VAN BUUREN! We all got the chance to grab a quick photo with him and were also gifted with limited edition ASOT900 ‘Lifting You Higher’ scarves!
With about 30 minutes to go before Armin took to the stage for the first of three sets for the night, Taylor and I ran around the venue attempting to recreate the lifting you higher promo image, but apparently jumping photos aren’t as easy as they used to be back in high school. After HUNDREDS of failed attempts and blurry mid air shots, we finally gave up, took a cute picture in front of the photo wall and headed to the main stage for Armin’s vinyl set. We also caught most of Estiva before meeting up with the rest of our fam for Cosmic Gate and Above & Beyond.
I ended up only catching bits and pieces of Above & Beyond and the intro of Armin’s main stage set because I spent most of the night in the artist area doing interviews. I’m not complaining though, I had the pleasure of interviewing Estiva, Maor Levi, MaRLo, FUTURECODE and Rodg, thanks to the lovely people at Armada. This was definitely the most interviews I’ve done in one night and I’m honestly not even sure how I pulled it off but they all turned out amazing! I met up with a couple more friends and ran into a tonne of followers at the Who’s Afraid of 138 stage before heading back to the main stage for the end of Vini Vici.
My favourite set was without a doubt MaRLo. Not sure if it was because he played hardstyle, or because it was the only full set I saw all night… probably both. My jaw literally hit the ground when he played DJ Isaac’s ‘The Realm’ and I absolutely lost it when he dropped Darren Styles! His visuals were also my favourite to capture because I ended up so close to the stage; so I got some pretty dope laser shots! FUTURECODE closed out the main stage and concluded my very first ASOT in the Netherlands!
So that pretty much concludes my epic birthday celebration at ASOT900! We spent the next couple of days (including my actual birthday) exploring Amsterdam and eating way too many Dutch pancakes! I’m beyond grateful for the amazing team at ALDA for hosting this incredible event and inviting me to it, helping me tick another festival off the bucket list, and giving me one of the best birthday presents ever! The ASOT900 world tour continues next weekend in Madrid, before making it’s away around the world. I can’t wait to see this incredible production again later this year at Tomorrowland, and will hopefully cross off another country off the list and attend my very first festival in Ukraine as well!