Pasquale Rotella - The man behind Electric Daisy Carnival

Posted at October 9th, 2015 | by Sidhantha Jain | in

Today we share the story of a businessman who turned backyard rave parties into a venture of worth millions, redefining the festival experience for dance music fans. Up on our list of the most influential people in the EDM world is, Pasquale Rotella – the Founder of Insomniac events.

 

  • Who is Pasquale Rotella anyway?

 

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Pasquale Rotella is an American businessman who currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Insomniac Events, which is considered as one of the most successful electronic music events and promotions in the world. The small company which incepted in 1993 is currently responsible for, on average, 12 major festival-styled events per year in over a dozen cities, including Puerto Rico, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Orlando, Miami and Los Angeles; including its flagship Electric Daisy Carnival, Beyond Wonderland and Nocturnal Wonderland.

 

 

In 2015, Billboard and Rolling Stone ranked the 41 year old third and second respectively on their list of ‘Most Important People in EDM

 

 

Pas spent most of his childhood in Glendale, California as a first-generation American born to Italian parents. The family owned ‘Rotella’s’, a restaurant in Venice Beach, California, where he swept floors and learnt about the hospitality business. As a teenager, he found a new hobby of break dancing and practicing his moves on the Venice boardwalk, hanging out with a more dubious crowd than his parents would probably have preferred.

 

In 1991, he attended his first underground party at La Casa in downtown LA with Seth Binzer (aka Shifty Shellshock). Before heading out to his second party, he stuffed 1,000 lollipops into a backpack for the express purpose of handing them out to as many people as he could. In those days, whenever possible, he’d join his street team to pass out fliers for forthcoming events, maintaining grassroot connection to his clientele.

 

  • More about Insomniac Events

 

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The first official Insomniac event took place over Halloween weekend in 1993 and attracted a crowd of 300 and throughout its 20-year history, Insomniac has produced more than 250 festivals, concerts and club nights for more than 4 million attendees around the world. The company’s flagship annual event, Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas, is the largest multi-day music festival in North America, attracting hundred thousand fans over three days in June 2015. Enhanced by state-of-the-art lighting, pyrotechnics and sound design, large-scale art installations, theatrical performers and next-generation special effects, these events captivate the senses and inspire a unique level of fan interaction.

 

  • Why is he on this list?

 

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The ideal party for Rotella would be “10 percent music, 10 percent DJ names” with a much bigger focus on the lighting, the costumed guests and the art. For him, it’s about the whole experience, not just the names on the marwquee. Music isn’t the only thing that matters to this influential man. His unique philosophy has caused Electric Daisy Carnival to reach new heights and become the largest musical event in North America, growing from a 5,000-person LA rave in 1998 to a 320,000-person temporary city for its 2012 incarnation at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His company’s rise has accelerated along with and contributed to the boom in popularity for electronic dance in world over the past few years. EDC is just one member of the star studded roster, other events like Escape From Wonderland, Electric Forest and White Wonderland are also succeeding in spreading the Rotella gospel of music-comes-second across the dance music community.

 

When dance music was at a low in the mid-2000s, Pasquale was still flying the flag.”- Paul Tollett (President and Founder of Goldenvoice)

 

Since EDC arrived in Vegas in 2011, he’s generated more than $621 million for the local economy and as close to 2,000 jobs! In 2011, Mayor Oscar Goodman declared Electric Daisy Carnival Week, making the fest the first publicly sanctioned electronic dance event.

 

According to ‘TheRichest.com’ he’s worth $10 million today, but his rise to the top was a lengthy one and controversies came pouring in as he stepped up the ladder. Most prominent cases of complications included a 15-year-old girl died of an ecstasy overdose after sneaking into the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the Rave King paying $1.9 million in bribes to a former Coliseum manager in an effort to lower the cost of future events at the venue.

 

The rave entrepreneur had quite a 2013, featuring a Kaskade-DJ’d wedding to Hugh Hefner reality show The Girls Next Door star Holly Madison and his partnership with Live Nation, in which the global entertainment giant took a 50 percent stake in Insomniac for a reported $50 million.

 

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From his “fulfilling people’s fantasies” theory we learn, he’s truly one of the EDM pioneers who have helped develop “it” from underground warehouses to the mainstream.

 

 

Sidhantha Jain

I love EDM, it loves me back. It pays for my food bills.

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