Forces are joined at Women in Dance

By Tom van der Velpen on 24-10-2019

At the Amsterdam Dance Event in Amsterdam 600 (!) speakers attended at hundreds of panels and presentations related to the electronic music industry. This year, for the first time, an event was organized where women working in the music industry met on a large scale to exchange knowledge. I was one of the men present, and experienced an inspiring afternoon in Spaces Amsterdam.

The Amsterdam based DJ/Producer Lady Bee thought it was time that a female panel was created with a focus on women in the music industry. At her invitation, four experienced players from the Dutch music industry had joined the panel: Romina Derby (Robin Banks Agency), Linda Gommers (Spec Artist Management, Manager Famke Louise), Stephanie Mcguire (A&R BMG.Talpa) and Maartje Ketelaar (Mixmash Records) & management of Lady Bee). The room at Spaces Amsterdam was full of mainly female DJs who were extremely curious about the stories and experiences of the ladies in the panel. A visitor, working for the famous Glastonbury festival, was surprised by the high turnout and said that five years ago she was only one of the few women at ADE.

panelThe panel with (fltr); moderator Fajah Lourens, Lady Bee, Stephanie Mcquire, Maartje Ketelaar, Linda Gommers and Romina Derby.

Stay true to yourself

Lady Bee immediately started the Q&A and says that the majority of bookers in the Netherlands are looking for an all-round DJ, who plays a bit of urban and, above all, plans a hour with requests from the visitors. At one point she was so done with it, because it was not her style and wanted to play her own music, that she no longer took on these gigs. A difficult choice because it immediately meant fewer gigs for her. But an important motto for her as a DJ is: Stay true to yourself. Because she had fewer gigs, she had to take a part-time job at Spaces to make ends meet as a DJ. And in the end, thanks to this focus, she was booked at bigger festivals. With her own music.

Go networking together

There was an enormous amount of interaction between audience and panel this afternoon, much more than I am used to from the average session during music conferences such as ADE and Reeperbahn. There, the public participation is held shortly afterwards or not at all. Here, questions, jokes and compliments are shared between everyone in the room.

This also raises the general problem of networking. All the women in the panel agreed: you are as big as your network. But not everyone finds the networking phenomenon enjoyable. For example, Lady Bee admits that she often finds it difficult to make the right contact during events. Stephanie assists her and gives a handy tip: 'Take someone with you who feels comfortable with networking at events. Then you can help each other. If the conversation is difficult between Lady Bee and someone else at an network event, I often get involved and help to steer it in the right direction. Use each other's strengths with networking.'

Lady Bee - Sweet Like Chocolate, released at Diplo's label MADDECENT

Perseverance is the key

The word perseverance comes back a lot this afternoon. Be persistent in offering your music and promoting it. It is not bad at all to email a few times to someone you want to make contact with, it just shows you that you are persistent. The persistence of Lady Bee became clear when she organized an event during ADE. She wanted to collaborate with big names in the DJ scene like Diplo and invested a lot of money to attract these big names to her event. After a lot of perseverance, she managed to get those names at her event and with that she had laid the perfect foundation for a collaboration. Not much later she released music with Diplo.

A lot of knowledge and advice is being shared during this inspiring session full of personal anecdotes and questions from the audience. I am surprised how the dynamic this afternoon was and how involved both the public and the panel were. Everyone who was present could see that the female presence in the music industry is growing. Hopefully forces will be joined and this special afternoon can be the start of a strong feminine wave in the electronic music world.

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Tags: forces, ade, women in dance, gigstarter