Pasquale Rotella, Founder & CEO, Insomniac Events

– null

The Disruptors

The executives behind the ideas that disrupt the industry in positive ways.

Pasquale Rotella
Founder & CEO, Insomniac Events

Insomniac Events has been around for 26 years, but founder Pasquale Rotella feels the electronic music event promoter, whose marquee event is the massive Las Vegas festival Electric Daisy Carnival that last year had a reported 411,000 attendees, is in some ways just getting started.

In addition to its Vegas installment, EDC’s Orlando iteration will expand from two days to three in 2019; internationally, EDC’s events in Mexico City and Chiba City, Japan, continue in 2019; and Insomniac will debut EDC Seoul later this year. 

Rotella tells Pollstar that a European version of EDC is also in the works. The company is also looking to expand its Escape brand to Europe and Asia in the near future. 

Beyond its flagship EDC brand, Insomniac – alongside Live Nation, with which it formed a creative partnership in 2013 – also produces Electric Forest in Rothbury, Mich.; Audiotistic in Mountain View, Calif.; HARD Summer in Fontana, Calif.; the Holy Ship! cruise and a range of dance events.

Insomniac, already considered an innovator in fan engagement, has cooked up Insomniac Passport, an invitation-only program that gets participants into every Insomniac event and also offers discounts on merch, access to special entrances, and exclusive lounges and concierge services. 

“We do a lot of shows over the course of a year, and our attendees are so passionate about coming to as many as they can,” Rotella tells Pollstar. “I wanted to give people an affordable way to attend as many events as they want, and make sure they get a lot of cool benefits as well. I hope other companies get inspired by this program.”

Despite Insomniac’s massive success over the years, Rotella says he was never inspired to put on concerts, and still views his work as creating experiences. 

“We’re part of a vibrant community and culture that puts an emphasis on connecting with other people,” he says. “I continue to create these experiences because they bring me an incredible amount of joy and happiness. 

“I’m still a fan of it all, and it’s extremely gratifying to see the positive impact these events have.”

Rotella says he didn’t have a real mentor coming up through rave culture – his biggest influences were the ravers and progenitors of the culture itself. Learning to listen to those fans and the artists has served him well and is still a key part of his business. 

“This community is very vocal and they aren’t afraid to speak their minds when there’s something wrong,” Rotella says. “I learn the most from them, and I still learn from them today.”

Hot Takes

The show that changed your life:

The first rave I went to back in 1991. I can’t remember the name of it because I didn’t know to ask!

Best career-related advice you were ever given:

It’s okay to step in crap but you don’t have to stand in it. 

Where can you be found during a show:

In the crowd. 

Pet Peeves:

Unnecessary egos.

Technology that has most impacted your daily work or personal life:

Million-watt lasers.