Danny Wimmer Presents Announces 2021 Festival Calendar: Inkcarceration, Louder Than Life, Aftershock, Welcome To Rockville

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– Life Goes On
Rob Zombie performs at Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 29, 2019. The event will return this September, as will three other Danny Wimmer Presents festivals in 2021.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Danny Wimmer Presents was poised for a massive 2020 – and now, the powerhouse promoter seems poised to lead the live industry’s return later this year.

Danny Wimmer Presents announced its 2021 festival slate Wednesday, comprised of four festivals scheduled between July and November.

DWP’s 2021 calendar begins with a new partnership. After successful outings in 2018 and 2019, Inkcarceration Music & Tattoo Festival will return to the Ohio State Reformatory – known to many as the titular prison in “The Shawshank Redemption” – in Mansfield, Ohio, under the Danny Wimmer aegis July 23-25. In 2019, the festival grossed $2.48 million with a lineup topped by Shinedown, Godsmack and Five Finger Death Punch.

In September, DWP will host its annual Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, Ky., this time around adding a “Thursday night celebration event” to kickstart the festivities. Current pass holders earn access to the additional night at no additional charge.

Aftershock, DWP’s festival in Sacramento, Calif., will proceed as planned with its Oct. 7-10 event topped by My Chemical Romance and two nights of Metallica, as announced last October. Aftershock will also feature Limp Bizkit, Rancid, The Offspring, Social Distortion, Rise Against, Volbeat, Machine Gun Kelly, Mastodon, Gojira and Seether, among others.

Come November, Danny Wimmer Presents will hold Welcome To Rockville in expanded, four-day form at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., a new location for the event. After nine years in Jacksonville, Fla., the festival was slated to debut in Daytona Beach in May 2020 before the pandemic interfered. Current pass holders can either request refunds or defer to November at no additional charge.

And, early next year, Danny Wimmer Presents will conquer a new frontier, staging a five-day cruise and private island festival in partnership with Sixthman in Harvest Caye, Belize, from Feb. 16-21, 2022.

Other DWP events will stay on hiatus for 2021, including Ohio’s Sonic Temple North Carolina’s Epicenter. Current pass holders to those festivals will be given the option of full refunds or applying existing credit to any other Danny Wimmer Presents 2021 festivals. 

“Taking our festivals down last year was one of the most painful experiences our company has ever lived through,” said Danny Wimmer Presents founder Danny Wimmer, a 2019 Impact 50 honoree, in a statement. “And it wasn’t just painful for us, it was hard on the bands, fans, partners, cities and vendors. It has become clear to us that we will not be able to have our festivals this spring, and for a variety of reasons, it is not possible to produce all of our annual festivals in the window of fall 2021, so we made the difficult decision to only produce Aftershock, Welcome To Rockville and Louder Than Life this year. These are our longest running and most geographically diverse festivals. Focusing on these three events, along with Inkcarceration Festival at the end of July gives as many fans as possible, from all over the country, the chance to rock again.”

In a December issue of Pollstar, Danny Wimmer Presents president of live entertainment Joe Litvag characterized the nature of the 2021 comeback as “the billion dollar question.”

“We don’t consider ourselves optimists or pessimists,” he said. “We are realists.”

Litvag, who joined the company in August, explained the pandemic’s impact on Danny Wimmer Presents in Pollstar‘s year-end thought leaders survey.

“If there’s any positive from all of the challenges of 2020, it’s that DWP has taken control of its situation and is making the best of it,” he said. “We had just closed a new round of capital investment prior to COVID, and the pause in festivals as a result has really given us the ability to utilize this time to reorganize, reevaluate our priorities and strategically add to our team. We’ve now actually accelerated the planned expansion of our overall business into new key areas like digital stream creation and distribution, live touring (socially distanced for the time being), venue management and booking and agency services and consultation. This expansion will create diversification and will compliment our festival business when it returns.”

Danny Wimmer Presents’ 2021 plans will position it to recapture the momentum it had when the pandemic began. In October 2019, the company announced an exclusive deal with Metallica where the legendary band would play two headlining nights at each of DWP’s five festivals – and stage no other U.S. gigs.

In February 2020, Danny Wimmer Presents received substantial financial backing from Ron Burkle’s The Yucaipa Companies.

During the pandemic, Danny Wimmer Presents offered various streaming programming, including the archival series “Offstage With DWP” and livestreams with Hollywood Undead, Dance Gavin DanceCorey Taylor and more.