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Behind the scenes of Sensation

Without any false modesty, the organisers call it ‘the World’s Leading Dance Event’. Take a closer look at the facts and figures and you will see why. Sensation is the largest and most successful dance party in the world, drawing 40,000 visitors each year in Amsterdam and hosting international editions in 32 countries. To organise such a mega-event takes a monumental effort.

Metres-high set pieces are inflated, hundreds of costumes are made and a 7,000 m2 dance floor is installed on the grass football field of the Amsterdam ArenA. Once the stage is ready, the fire canons, laser beams, light balls and smoke machines are installed to give visitors the party experience of a lifetime. The preparations for this mega dance party take up to a year. As soon as the gates swing open, the ArenA is ‘gone’. Every year is unique because no two editions of Sensation are the same. So make sure you don’t miss this year’s event!

Sensation: fire, light and a spectacular show
Sensation: fire, light and a spectacular show

Amsterdam

From stadium to dance temple in 6 days

Sensation is famous for its outrageous sets, but the production is an even bigger task. A hefty event plan keeps the choreographers, costume designers, stylists, make-up artists, hair dressers, podium builders, technicians, dancers and of course the DJs on track. Although a year of designing, planning and testing precede the party, the event itself is set up in less than a week. As soon as hundreds of trucks with equipment, stage and set components are unloaded, a growing team ranging from 100 to 2,000 people works 24 hours a day to transform the ArenA from a football stadium into the world’s largest dance temple. This is no small feat: just the hydraulic steel arches that framed the stage of the 2014 edition ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome’ weighed 140 tons. Cranes as high as an apartment building were used to lift the components into place, allowing Martin Garrix to sit in his mobile DJ booth and command the audience into ecstasy.

“Although the preparations take a year, the event itself is set up in 6 days”

Sensation ‘Source of Light’ (2012)

Sensational logistics

For the 2012 edition ‘Source of Light’, 164 metres of rails were suspended so the aerial dancers could fly over the crowd at a speed of 72 km/h. The central object representing the theme was equipped with 1.5 kilometres of LED strips, 64 sound-driven light bundles and 10 lasers. It took 130 tackles to suspend 56 tons of equipment from the roof in preparation for the 2010 ‘Celebrate Life’ edition. And those are just a few details of the massive production. This logistical tour de force didn’t go unnoticed: one of the many awards received by organiser ID&T includes the Dutch Logistics Award. Sensation lives up to its name: it is a sensation.

Sensation ‘Source of Light’ (2012)