The 2021 edition of Amsterdam Dance Event, the world's premier electronic music summit, is in jeopardy after the Dutch government's latest clamp on nightlife.
Amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge organized a press conference last week to announce that Dutch nightclubs must remain shuttered until November 1st. "I realize that this is again a hard message and that more was hoped for," Rutte said. "The work in these sectors can continue, but with one hand tied behind their back for the time being."
ADE is scheduled for October 13-17, painting a grim picture for what was supposed to be the event's triumphant return after going virtual in 2020. Organizers recently confirmed a slew of high-profile panelists, such as electronic music luminaries deadmau5 and Don Diablo, as well as announced the launch of an immersive Arts & Culture program.
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In the meantime, a legion of Dutch event proprietors have planned a gathering for Saturday, August 21st in protest of the government's lack of transparency surrounding the arts sector. ADE promoted the #UnmuteUs initiative in a somber Facebook post, calling the government's decision "disastrous."
"The Dutch government has decided to leave festivals, clubs and nightlife without perspective yet again - a disastrous decision for the backbone of ADE and the electronic music industry as a whole," the post reads. "Without a clear vision on nightlife and its culture, there is still no hope on the horizon for countless clubs, artists and electronic music enthusiasts."
According to NL Times, clubs are to remain closed as the government evaluates the gradual easing of social distancing measures in the weeks leading up to the lift of restrictions. Nightlife businesses will continue to receive financial aid from the government.
"We all remember how the virus overtook us at the beginning of the summer, with that sudden peak, after we implemented a large number of relaxations as of June 26. That was a considerable learning experience," Rutte cautioned. "For that reason, the continued relaxation or elimination of rules will only happen if the projected level of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 hospitalizations allows the Cabinet to make a definitive decision."