(Original Photo By: #DLDK)
Although we live in an increasingly global world with a nonstop 24-hour news cycle, isn’t there something very comfortable sounding about the phrase “9-to-5” job? You know…wake up, sit in traffic, head to the office, punch out, head home, rinse, repeat. However, for many people across all fields that’s not really ideal, nor is it a dream job for some. This was the case for both Alex Hes and Essam Jansen, co-founders of E&A Events, the company that puts on Don’t Let Daddy Know (DLDK), one of the Netherlands’ most prestigious electronic music festivals. Together Alex and Essam have overseen the growth of Don’t Let Daddy Know into a global brand as well as put on several other festivals including Kingsland Festival, which celebrates the Dutch National Holiday.
“Well, it might sound really cliché, but we always wanted to make people smile and entertain them. I think we really succeeded with that! It was always a dream to build our own company. Early on we discovered that we don’t have the typical 9-to-5 work mindset. Being able to wake up in the morning and do what we love is a great feeling, even better if we can bring happiness to people while doing so!”
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. This is precisely what happened with Alex and Essam. After a night out partying in Amsterdam, they both found that they did not have the time they were looking for. As is so often the case with startups, the two decided they could do a better job of putting on a party than established promoters. What started out as local parties in Amsterdam for some friends has now grown into a global brand of dance music. Within the next few months the Don’t Let Daddy Know festival will make stops in the UK, India, and Macau (that really cool island James Bond went to in “Skyfall”).
“Well, eight years ago we walked out of Club Escape in Amsterdam after a party and we didn’t have a great night. That is where we saw an opportunity to create something big. Our classmates didn’t have a good place to party. That is when we thought…what if we start organizing parties for our friends and peers? We started locally (of course) and grew bigger and bigger and it has turned into what it is today. We are still as enthusiastic as we were with our first event. The passion never stopped; it only grows. This is how we know that this is the life for us.”
Despite the joy Alex and Essam get from putting on shows and their undying optimism, the life of a promoter and especially purveyors of a global brand is not without its challenges. They deal with the logistics of putting on a festival worldwide and deal with people from all walks of life. Also, as much of a brilliant idea as putting on their own festival seemed right off the bat, they initially did not experience success. However, Alex and Essam are persistent about turning their dreams into reality.
“Well, in the beginning we invested almost all of our money into one event and it didn’t succeed as much as we had hoped it would. We lost a lot of money and started questioning if we should continue. We’re really lucky we decided to keep building on our dream and vision. We encounter these struggles every day, multiple times. We work with more than 50 external organizations and there are so many obstacles we run into, but we always consult with the team and come to a decision we all support.”
Although Alex and Essam’s first event did not meet their expectations, they stuck with it. They had a clear vision that they wanted to do more than just promote a show; they wanted to promote a way of life. Now they’ve expanded from their Dutch roots to become a worldwide brand. The duo says that because of the nature of House music, they’ve been able to achieve their goal of getting the widest array of people interested in their shows. Music has the power to bring people together, and electronic music succeeds at that at the highest level.
“We draw our inspiration from everywhere. Everything you see can and will inspire you, even when it is not directly related. We want to create more than just a music event, we want to create a lifestyle, a brand…We want to see more unity; the world is divided by borders and so on. With DLDK we host events all over the world…The gathering is amazing! House is boundless and that is what makes an event such as DLDK so accessible.”