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Promo Spotlight: Disco Donnie regains its independence from LiveStyle Inc.

Given how music opens the connection to the soul, artists and their fanbases must represent the body. Promotional companies, then, are the heartbeat of the music industry. These are the local street teams, the social media hustlers, the business negotiators, the backstage bookers and talent scouters — all working tirelessly at their tiers with management teams, venues, press, and so on to bring fans their favorite music. However, promotional companies often get overlooked by music goers, outshined by big names and line-ups. They don’t much care for the spotlight though, and they definitely don’t do it for the money. They do it all for the love of music.

That’s why CE is proud to present our Promo Spotlight series, where we scour the United States for local promotional companies to shine a light on the people working behind the scenes of music. They are, for all intents and purposes, music’s beating life force. 

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.

James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, Jr. Courtesy of Disco Donnie.

“What type of crazy person buys back their events company in the middle of a worldwide pandemic?”

– DDP founder and CEO, James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, Jr.

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. DDP President Michele Servais expands:

“It has been the wildest ride with Donnie over the past 12 years. 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, DDP 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.

“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, DDP’s Vice President

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, and New York, Beyond Wonderland Seattle, and Nocturnal Wonderland Austin.

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 Donnie has been a part of LiveStyle, which included a worldwide portfolio of top-tier event companies including React Presents, Life In Color, Made Events, ID&T, Tomorrowland, Sensation, TomorrowWorld, Beatport, Electric Zoo, Awakenings, Q-Dance, and more.

DDP is now prepared to take this experience and apply it as an independent force in the entertainment industry through new additional partnerships.

Ubbi Dubbi 2019, Ft. Worth, Texas. Photo: Rukes.

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 CO-VID 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. 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 theres 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

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.

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