True House Stories® Youtube & Spotify Video Podcast
TRUE HOUSE STORIES W/ DISCO DONNIE
Disco Donnie interview podcast hosted by Lenny Fontana # 114 - True House Stories®
Donnie “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, Founder & CEO of electronic music promoters Disco Donnie Presents. Disco Donnie is considered one of the godfathers of U.S. electronic dance music, evolving over the past 27 years to become one of the top dance music promoters globally.
From his early days in the 1990s New Orleans dance scene, Disco Donnie coupled eccentricity with ingenuity to create elaborately themed parties that charmed patrons, garnered an international following, and unwittingly became a catalyst for a national debate over the First Amendment right to expression.
Donnie will discuss how he built DDP and its commanding influence on developing electronic music in North America, as well as the state of electronic music following the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Biography Disco Donnie
Disco Donnie Presents (DDP) is an award-winning and recognized electronic dance music event production leader founded by veteran promoter James “Disco” Donnie Estopinal. Since the company’s inception in 1994, DDP has sold over 18 million tickets producing over 18,000 live events, arena shows, and outdoor festivals in over 100 markets worldwide, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Panama. Annually, DDP is responsible for organizing and promoting nearly 1,000 club events across the U.S., ranging from Portland, Columbus, Houston, Tampa, New Orleans, Dallas, and St. Louis to name only a few.
DDP is is also known for producing major festivals such Lights All Night, Sunset Music Festival, Ember Shores, The Texas Eclipse, Paradise Blue, So What!?, Freaky Deaky, and the “First Festival Back,” Ubbi Dubbi.
Founder and CEO James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal, Jr. is considered one of the godfathers of U.S. electronic dance music, evolving over the past 29 years to become one of the top dance music promoters globally. From his early days in the 1990s New Orleans dance scene, Disco Donnie coupled eccentricity with ingenuity to create elaborately themed parties that charmed patrons, garnered an international following, and unwittingly became a catalyst for a national debate over the First Amendment right to expression.
In 1999, Donnie first partnered with Pasquale Rotella, CEO of Insomniac Events, and worked together on EDC Los Angeles, Nocturnal Wonderland Los Angeles, and Beyond Wonderland Los Angeles. In 2008, the duo officially merged, setting their sights on strategically developing the Insomniac brand worldwide and making Insomniac a household name. Working together, the pair ushered in events such as EDC Orlando, EDC Dallas, EDC Puerto Rico, EDC 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.
In 2012, DDP shifted its focus to the genesis and development of SFX Entertainment, as the first company to sign with founder Robert F. X. Sillerman; a media entrepreneur with a vision to invest nearly a billion dollars in electronic dance music to bring the world’s leading promoters under one roof.
Disco became a part of LiveStyle in 2017, which housed 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.
After shelving the Something Wicked and Something Wonderful brands, Donnie partnered with a sister company in 2018 to bring Chicago’s Freaky Deaky to Houston, Texas, selling 50,000 tickets in its first year. In 2019, DDP announced Freaky Deaky Texas and Ubbi Dubbi, both wholly owned by Disco Donnie Presents. Ubbi Dubbi is Disco Donnie’s newest festival brand which takes us into a world curated by two whimsical imaginary characters known as Ubbi and Dubbi. The new brand took the EDM world by storm, gathering 45,000 attendees in its inaugural year.
In 2020, James “Disco Donnie” Estopinal announced he 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 finally buying his company back and delivering fan refunds in the face of COVID-19 festival cancellations.
Dedicated to continuing to serve the EDM community, DDP created No Parking On The Dance Floor, a new brand that brought 25+ drive-in shows to fans across the U.S. through April 2021.
In 2021, Disco Donnie Presents could finally move forward with club shows and festivals again. In the first week of April 2021, he launched Ember Shores in partnership with Illenium. This announcement marked the company’s first all-inclusive destination music festival, set for December 2021 in Cancun. Ubbi Dubbi returned in April 2021 as the first festival back in the US with 60,000 tickets sold and the company’s first festival camping experience.
With the company back in Donnie’s control and the events world returning to its former glory, DDP plans to rapidly expand new festival brands and show concepts in 2023 and beyond.