‘Live Will Never Be The Same’: Q’s With AFAS Live GM Birgitte de Winter

– AFAS Live
Dutch band Di-Rect live on stage

Pollstar has just launched its brand new, Europe-focused rankings during ILMC week. Leading the way in the theater category is AFAS Live in Amsterdam, Holland. We asked the venue’s GM Birgitte de Winter a couple of questions.
The 6,000-capacity venue is located right next to the 16,800 capacity Ziggo Dome and 60,000 capacity (for concerts) Johan Cruijff Arena, which together form Amsterdam’s major entertainment triumvirate. 
Birgitte de Winter
– Birgitte de Winter
General manager of AFAS Live

According to the venue’s general manager Birgitte de Winter, “AFAS Live was designed especially for amplified (pop) music,” adding that sound experts have deemed the acoustics in the Black Box, the building’s main auditorium, to be best-in-class. “AFAS Live is far more than just four walls and a roof. For live music lovers it’s a total experience,” she said.

It is a flexible venue: “Everything is possible. Standing shows, seated shows, big and small settings. Family entertainment and business events, it can all be realized at AFAS Live. There is a great variety of events taking place here,” de Winter explained, “we welcome local and international fans from all over the world. The shows with young audiences are very exciting, the young fans are very engaged.”
Some upcoming highlights include The Kooks (March 29), Herbert Grönemeyer (April 1), Aziz Ansari (April 2). Take That, Hozier and A-ha are also confirmed for later in the year.
It’s the perfect venue for artists that are about to make the jump to arena status, but “big artists also choose AFAS Live to do an exclusive show in an intimate setting for their fans,” de Winter said. There’s also a stage for local newcomers on the first floor of the Black Box, which also serves as the location for the after-show parties that take place after almost every concert.
The building’s motto, since opening in 2001, has been “Live will never be the same!”. Today, it attracts some 700,000 visitors per year, and the number of events has been constantly increasing. Aside from concerts, which are the main live entertainment tenants of AFAS Live, “we see a big turnout in family entertainment shows such as musicals, comedy and kids-shows. They usually sell out very quickly and are very popular these days,” de Winter said.
One of her favorite parts of the job was working with local and international production offices on the various shows taking place at her venue: “We get to learn so much every event, we can’t wait to see what’s ahead of us.”