Dancehall Episode Weekender, Amsterdam
28th Feb – 3rd Mar 19
I did not understand. What happened to the Dancehall Episode experience I had last year in Lloret de Mar? The very fact that I had such a fantastic experience, led me to immediately book up for this year’s Amsterdam trip. ..but what happened to the vibes? Perhaps it was because it was my first time attending a DHE event last year, I had no expectations and to me it was epic. Or perhaps it was because of the exceptionally warm weather combined with the outdoor events. Either way, the recent Amsterdam experience was, unfortunately, not a hit for me.
So what went wrong?
The DHE team definitely got a few things wrong here and the first really and simply is information. Since there is no such thing as too much information, there were clearly things we should have been informed of and alas, we were not. For instance, the hosting venues were a logistical nightmare, as the venues were too far apart and not located in central Amsterdam, where many people stayed. For the majority, it was an Uber taxi there and back to your hotel and at around 40 – 70 EUROS per one way trip, it worked out expensive and something many people hadn’t budgeted for.
We were also not told about scandalous pre-payment bar schemes, which all the venues ran. Confusion surrounded many people on the first night when joining the long queues to get the plastic tokens to purchase very expensive drinks.
The Box venue on the last night fared better with them accepting debit cards, but there was still mass confusion, with everyone assuming by then you had to queue up to pay for tokens.
.. then we had envelope-gate.
The special envelope is given to you when collecting your wristband, containing the free canal ride tickets. It could have been down user error and people taking no notice of the bag and the contents being handed to them. However, for some, there were no instructions that it contained the tickets and with the large number that turned up for the tours on the Saturday without them, it was evident that they had not read the contents. Admittedly, neither did I.
However, I loved the fact that the DHE team put together a host of parties and the extra activities, but it felt like the desired effect of the much-hyped boat party scheduled for the Sunday, did not go plan. As many people opted to sleep in, not travel and prepare for last lap dance that night, the Black and Gold Party.
Although, the main problem for me, was that at times the vibe was completely missing from the crowds, apart from around the front of the stage where all the dancehall dancers pitted their best moves. From the many people I spoke to and some who were also first-timers. Comments ranged from “it was too expensive”, “the vibe was not great” to, “I go to all of them with my friends, I love it”! Comments will always vary, but the DHE loyalists and many other first-timers created their own Dancehall Episode experience expectation, that was fast, wild, uninhibited and fun.
Quality of the DJs
Whilst, it would be unfair to blame the organisers for the lack in ‘people vibe’, to some extent they were for the quality of the DJs booked. The fact remains that some of those DJs were very questionable in their set and killed the vibe at a few points in the night. The other thing I noticed was that the crowd’s tastes were specific. I mean, it was Dancehall Episode and you expect Dancehall, but when the DJs played Soca sets, the delight and madness did not extend to everyone.
On the positive side…
The DHE team had put real thought and effort into this weekender and tried to anticipate and accommodate everyone’s needs. For instance, the team had hired a small club in Amsterdam central, where people could rendezvous for the Saturday tours. It was an intimate venue with a DJ playing tunes, a team of staff ready to deal with any issues, food available and a warm atmosphere. Groups of people hung out or moved about as they came and left for the tours – a great idea and meeting spot.
There was the also the wide selection of DJs that played over the weekend entertaining us all, in addition to the host MCs, who are sometimes overlooked, but they are the definitive hype masters and experienced at keeping the crowds entertained, with their crude unabashed chat! The promotional branding was effectively on point and with Belaire Champagne as one of the main sponsors of the event, the extra large screens provided the essential backdrop to the event and advertised sponsorship. Lastly, there were always staff or team members visible that you could speak to for any problems or questions, all were so approachable and friendly. Apart from the logistical nightmare of the venues, they were huge, clean and accommodated the smokers. The clubs are set up very differently from London, but with the listed disadvantages there are surprising positives.
Subsequently, I could not the fault the quality spent on the entire event as the team did so many things right and had, in fact, hosted another epic event. For those who have never been, I urge you to read my review, then go to the Dancehall Episode website and book your trip. With a combination of warm weather, pool and rooftop parties, be prepared for a weekend of Dancehall madness!
When you can do the Gully creep!
Just ‘touch down inna’.. With Stylo G’s hit track.
Dancehall Episode in Pictures