Electronic music festival pioneer James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal announces he has re-acquired sole ownership of Disco Donnie Presents (DDP), the namesake company he founded 26 years ago.
This historic acquisition concludes an epic eight-year journey through being the first company acquired by SFX, surviving SFX’s subsequent bankruptcy, becoming a part of LiveStyle, and delivering fan refunds in the face of COVID-19 festival cancellations. In the wake of scores of corporate acquisitions by Live Nation, AEG and SFX, Disco Donnie is the only founder wily enough to both sell his company and buy it back to return to independence.
“What type of crazy person buys back their events company in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?” said DDP founder and CEO, James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, Jr.
“It has been the wildest ride with Donnie over the past 12 years. The dance music community and our company has developed and grown in a way most of us never imagined. Throughout it all, our partnerships and cherished relationship with our fans helped us get to where we are today. Even though we are all faced with a moment of uncertainty, we are looking forward to getting back to doing what we do best – producing amazing nights and festivals for our fans.”
Michele Servais, President
“We’re proud of what the team has accomplished through our past experiences and we are excited to return to our roots as a highly nimble and entrepreneurial company. No one can treat their fans better. We look forward to creating the next chapter in electronic music events with our partners and colleagues.”
Evan Bailey, Vice President
The DDP acquisition is the latest chapter in one of the most captivating stories in the entertainment industry. Originating in 1994 in New Orleans, DDP steadily grew its footprint as an independent promoter in secondary markets by bringing top tier electronic performers to cities like New Orleans, Dallas, St. Louis, Tampa, and Houston.
In 1999, Donnie first partnered with Pasquale Rotella, CEO of Insomniac Events. In 2008, the duo merged officially, setting their sights on strategically developing the Insomniac brand throughout the world and making Insomniac a household name. Working together, the pair ushered in events such as EDC Orlando, Dallas, Puerto Rico, New York; Beyond Wonderland Seattle; Nocturnal Wonderland Austin, and co-founded Electric Forest. The partnership also produced hundreds of club shows annually in markets across the U.S.
A second partnership followed in 2012 with Robert F.X. Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment, a music conglomerate whose vision was to unite all EDM promoters under one roof. DDP was the first company acquired by SFX in its buying spree. In 2016, SFX was rebranded as LiveStyle.
Since then, Disco has been a part of LiveStyle, which included a worldwide portfolio of top-tier event companies including, Disco Donnie Presents, React Presents, Life In Color, Made Events, ID&T, Tomorrowland, Sensation, TomorrowWorld, Beatport.com, Electric Zoo, Awakenings, Q-Dance, and more. These partnerships provided DDP invaluable experience and insight into promoting dance events on a global platform and strengthened the brand at its core. DDP is now prepared to take this experience and apply it as an independent force in the entertainment industry through new additional partnerships.
Disco Donnie Presents brings along a strong portfolio of festival brands with it in its newfound independence, including Ubbi Dubbi, Sunset Music Festival and Freaky Deaky Texas. As Disco maneuvers through the challenges associated with the COVID pandemic, the company’s current plan is to deliver two festivals in 2020, Sunset 2.0 and Ubbi Dubbi Gets Freaky Deaky Texas.
Through it all, DDP has remained committed to giving back to the communities it serves, often donating proceeds from ticket sales to local charities. In the past three years, Disco Donnie Presents has raised more than $200,000 for Texas charitable initiatives, including Hurricane Harvey relief.
DDP also recently launched a new voting initiative, R.A.V.E. (Register And Vote Everywhere), following its previous politically-minded initiatives such as Make America Rave Again, and Disco Donnie For President, which included festival voter registration components. “Many people have become divided and embittered in the current political environment and process. I see people arguing online over a variety of issues, which is their right, but there’s more people can do than being a keyboard warrior. We want to encourage and inspire people to register to vote and participate in our democracy,” Disco Donnie says. The year-long campaign for R.A.V.E. will encourage music fans to register and vote in all elections nationwide and will feature 10-second videos from artists as well as meet and greets at festivals.
Over the past 26 years, DDP has proven itself a live event powerhouse, directly contributing to the rise in popularity of electronic music worldwide. Given its newfound freedom, one can only expect DDP to continue delivering top notch entertainment as one of the leading promoters in electronic music anywhere.