Each week, EDM.com sits down with the legendary promoter Disco Donnie as he walks us through the most jaw-dropping stories of his career. As a veteran of the EDM rave scene, the dance party don has worked with the best in the industry and seen the worst. Join us this week as he nonchalantly describes the time he narrowly escaped a plane crash while on tour with Tiesto.
The Fall of 2011 was business as usual for Disco Donnie. He spent a portion of the season making short flights down the East Coast in a private jet while on tour with Tiesto. The renowned Dutch performer was amidst one of his College Invasion tours, and the gentlemen were halfway through their dates when it appeared as though they might have played their last.
“It was a short trip,” recalled Donnie from a memory that he qualified as, “the best of my recollection.” The team was playing the Carolinas for the start of the weekend’s shows and the next stop was the coastal city of Charleston. “It was me, Tiesto and Kelly Cobb, who was Tiesto’s tour manager at the time,” described Donnie. On this particular flight, the plane turned into an aerial death trap from a violent autumn storm, although the situation failed to daunt the passengers as they continued “just goofing around.”
Panic did not strike the cabin until the plane came in for a landing: “We came out of the clouds, but you couldn’t see anything because of the rain and darkness. When we finally came out, the pilot had missed the runway.” With only seconds to spare before the plane collided with the forest that marked the end of the pavement, the captain pulled the yoke and the plane made an emergency takeoff.
Following the near tragedy, the passengers tried not to let the incident overwhelm the DJ’s demeanor before he took the stage by singing Don McLean’s “American Pie.” Like true rock stars, the show went on without a hitch and their “close encounter” became nothing but a memory. Anticipating their need for the plane on rest of the tour, Donnie held his silence after the show: “We had to get on the plane again the next day so it wasn’t really something we wanted to bring up.”
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