As EDM continues to pervade the American consciousness, revered publications and websites are taking note. Institutions as legendary as The New York Times now publish work highlighting dance music's developments and its leading figures. Forbes, one of the leading business magazines in the world, recently interviewed Insomniac Events CEO Pasquale Rotella on the history and impact of his flagship event, EDC Vegas.
The interview juxtaposes the modest beginnings of Insomniac Events and the company’s early financial struggles with 2014’s iteration of EDC Vegas, which cost $36 million to produce and sold out months in advance. Rotella’s description of his early days as event coordinator paints a very different picture in how a crowd interacted with a DJ. Rotella reminisces that he “used to put the DJ on the floor and he was in the corner.”
“It was tough, making paper mache props leading up the event day. It’s a whole new world [now]–the music’s different, the crowds are different, the budgets are way different,” he said. The first EDC took place at the Shrine Expo Hall in LA for 5,000 people.
Insomniac experienced growing pains when a 15-year-old girl died at EDC in 2010. Faced with the underage death and accusations that he bribed LA officials to hold the event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Rotella decided to move the event to Las Vegas in 2011. Unfortunately, the first EDC Vegas lost $3 million.
Promotions conglomerate Live Nation bought a stake in Insomniac in 2013 and helped launch the company to new heights. There are now EDC festivals in several countries around the world, and the brand’s massive success has contributed to publications like Forbes taking special interest in its story. One would have been hard-pressed to find any articles about EDM events back in 2010. Now, EDM rests at the forefront of the music industry, especially with leaders like Rotella.
When asked about the future, Rotella said, “I have a much bigger vision than just to be happy with doing EDC Vegas. I want to spread our experience all over the world.” Articles like this Forbes interview help expand Rotella’s vision and bring widespread respect to Insomniac and its many events. Once a ringleader of illegal raves, Rotella now heads one of the fastest-growing brands in the world. This is just the beginning.
Cover Photo Credit: Insomniac