…was absolutely mental!
So this is the part where I talk about one of the craziest weeks of my life! Let’s rewind to the very beginning. The journey begins on Monday morning in Toluca, Mexico, after saying goodbye to some of my favourite people in the world. For some reason, I cried the entire 2 hour Uber ride to the airport and I honestly almost considered skipping the entire event just to be able to stay with my friends. I’m SO glad I didn’t (sorry guys). 48 hours later, three flights and two continents later, I finally arrived in Amsterdam!
I found myself stepping off a plane and into a disabled bathroom at Schiphol airport, rushing to put my makeup on and make myself look semi presentable, despite spending the last two nights sleeping in airports. With my bags in storage, I headed into the city to pick up my accreditation and that’s when it hit me: I’M AT ADE! This event has been on my bucket list since 2015 and for years, I’ve watched all the live streams from a lecture hall because I could never get enough time off class to attend without failing. This year was finally the year and not only was I able to finally experience this insane event, but I got to do it entirely for free! I held the accreditation in my hands for a couple of minutes, taking it all in, and began to cry (again). Exhaustion does crazy things to your mind, but so does gratitude. I sat by the canal and cried, thinking about how god damn hard I worked to be there and how grateful I am for this life! I’ve achieved so much this year but this accreditation was probably one of my proudest achievements so far.
I arrived at Club NYX for the first of 13 events I had scheduled for the week. I think you can probably already tell that I never made it to all 13, but I definitely tried! First stop was Maxximize Label Night where I received a backstage pass to interview some of the DJ’s. If I’m being completely honest, the only reason I wanted to go to this part was to see D-Block & S-Te-Fan and they ended up being the last ones to play! I did however, discover a tonne of dope new artists and got to see some familiar names. I did have a slight intermission where I literally ran across Amsterdam to one of the fanciest music venues I’ve ever seen, just in time for Gaia! After a quick Happy Meal run, I was back at NYX and ended the night up close and personal with the boys. They ended up playing for over an hour instead of the scheduled 30 minutes, which I was absolutely living for and I even got to catch up with them after the show!
Arrived back at the airport at 7am, paprika chips at the ready, on my way to Utrecht. I should probably just put it out there right now before we continue, I was homeless for the entire week. It sounds bad but hear me out… Amsterdam is expensive as hell on a normal day. Just about every single time I’ve been to Amsterdam in the last three years, I’ve slept at the airport because I just can’t justify spending a stupid amount of money on one of 18 beds, let alone a private room. Sure I had a tonne of local friends that I could have stayed with for free, but I knew from the moment I decided to attend ADE, that I would not be spending it in a bed, and I was totally fine with that. The thing with ADE is, you stay up all night partying, and spend your days at conferences, meet ups, panels, etc. So with that in mind, what exactly is the purpose of having a bed when you’re not going to sleep in it? That’s my logic anyway. I stored my luggage at the airport for 6 euros a day, had full access to my stuff whenever I needed it and pretty much survived off naps for the entire week. But anyway, so Utrecht. Let’s not even go there. Long story short, after three days of little to no sleep, flying across the world and travelling back and fourth to Utrecht, I pretty much had a very costly mental breakdown. The longest I have ever been voluntarily homeless while travelling was 4 days, but this was the first time jet lag came into the picture…
I caved and checked into a hotel near the airport for the low low price of $174.87! To be fair, half of that cost was to cover the 5 hour early check in, but with a huge day ahead of me, all I wanted was to have a hot shower and lay my head on a pillow for the first time in three days! I originally booked the cheapest available single room but upon arrival, the room wasn’t available for the agreed early check in. So after an exhaustion influenced breakdown at reception, they ended up giving me a four person apartment for the night at no extra cost!
So by the time I showered and got settled into the room, I only really had about two hours until I had to leave, so despite dropping a stupid amount of money purely to be able to sleep for a couple of hours, I decided it was best to just hold out as long as I could and sleep once my commitments were over. That definitely did not happen. I set multiple alarms for 12.30 IN CASE I fell asleep, and of course, I somehow managed to wake up at 1.22PM. The place I had to be was an hour away by public transport and the meeting point was 2:15PM. You can only imagine how quickly I jumped out of bed when I realised what time it was. I’ve never put on fake eyelashes so quickly in my life and I literally ran down the corridors barefoot with my shoes and camera in my hands, out to my Uber. Fortunately, I made it with time to spare and I’m beyond blessed that everything worked out because this event was INSANE! I was invited to an exclusive Armin van Buuren event where we got to watch the live premiere of the ASOT900 theme and anthem, suspended from a crane, 60m above Amsterdam! You can read about the entire experience here!
Soooo today I was invited to watch Armin van Buuren premiere the #ASOT900 theme and anthem while being suspended from a crane 40m above Amsterdam!!! How’s your day going? 😜😍😭🙌🏻
Posted by Katarina Cvetko on Thursday, October 18, 2018
I got back from the party at 8am and requested a late check out. At this point, I was willing to throw all of my money at reception, just to be able to sleep as late as possible. Luckily, they were actually offering free late check outs for people attending ADE, since they were one of the official partners, so I got an extra six hours added to my stay at no extra cost! Of course, I slept through all my alarms and woke up with 10 minutes before check out and my entire life spread out all over the floor! I ran across the parking lot in my underwear to reception to beg for an extra 30 minutes to pack without being charged for an extra night, only to find that I actually had another hour! And that concludes my one night of luxury!
Back at the airport, bags in storage and off to RAI for Martin Garrix’s sold out 18+ show! I met up with my friends Stefi and Andi and waited at the front with them, where Danny and our friend Jenna eventually joined us. Despite waiting at the rail for hours, I only ended up staying for about the first 30 minutes because the laser show was just too good, and I needed to capture it! I ended up making my way into the centre of the arena, running into a tonne of people along the way, and spent the rest of the night with my jaw on the ground as I shot some of the most incredible lasers I’ve ever seen in my life!
What happens when there are two amazing festivals on at the same time? You go to both! I was lucky enough to be invited to my very first Amsterdam Music Festival by the lovely people at ALDA and finally got to experience what I had only ever seen on live streams! This festival was absolutely nuts and currently stands as the best indoor festival I’ve ever attended! The Dutch never fail to blow my mind with their stage production and the vibe in that arena was next level! You can read my review of the event here. I got to see some of my favourite artists before heading over (running over more like it) to Ziggo Dome across the road to catch the end of Q Dance’s Project One: Reflections Of The Eternal. I managed catch the end of Headhunterz and Sound Rush and somehow ended up on the rail once again for the one and only Wildstylez, where a kind stranger put me on his shoulders for the entire duration of ‘Year Of Summer’. My heart literally melts every single time he plays that song because I get to see his smile instantly grow a little bigger when he sees me in the crowd singing along! I ended up meeting up with Danny and watching the rest of the show from the mezzanine where once again, my mind was blown at the production!
I spent my last day with my friend Matt before heading over to Club NYX once again for FVCK Genres. To be completely honest, I was absolutely destroyed from the entire week and barely had any energy left for this one final party; but the second Da Tweekaz came on, suddenly, I was raging my absolute face off at the very front! I was also part of the team shooting the official after movie for the entire event which was absolutely mental and I loved every second of it because despite my passion for photography, making videos is where it all started for me.
So that concludes my wild week at ADE! I’m still pinching myself at the thought that not only did I finally get to cross this event off my bucket list, but I got to attend entirely for free as a photographer, journalist and influencer!
A year ago today, I made the announcement that I would be pursing my childhood dream to attend 52 festivals in a year. It was by far one of the most terrifying things I have ever done in my life and I still wake up every single morning wondering if this is all just a dream! If you had told me a year ago that I would be 41 festivals deep into the adventure of a lifetime and rubbing shoulders with some of the most influential people in the scene, I most definitely would have laughed in your face (and probably cried afterwards)! Everything up until and including this past week has been nothing short of pure insanity and I’ve never been more excited to see what the future holds! But for now, I’m about to hop on an overnight bus to Vienna and spend the next two days trying to catch up on sleep before the next festival!
Until next time Amsterdam! ✌🏻