Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac Productions is pictured here with Pat Christenson from Las Vegas Events and Cory Meredith from Staff Pro
REPORTING FROM LAS VEGAS — Is Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac Productions the new darling of Sin City?
After nearly being chased out of Los Angeles, Rotella has resettled his massive Electric Daisy Carnival dance party at the Las Vegas Speedway, and city leaders and event industry executives couldn’t be happier.
“This was the number one hook for this meeting,” said Paul Davis from the Joint in Las Vegas as he introduced Rotella to a packed room, gathered to hear him keynote the Las Vegas Event Destination Conference inside of Studio 54 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Las Vegas Events and the International Association of Venue Managers sponsored the three-hour meeting.
In June, Rotella moved his event from the L.A. Coliseum to the Nevada racetrack, selling 230,000 tickets over three days (about 80,000 people a day). Seemingly out of nowhere, Rotella had pulled off the biggest event in the history of the city, showcasing world-renowned DJs like Tiesto and Swedish House Mafia.
It’s no surprise that electronic music has become vanguard, especially in Las Vegas where night clubs pay big bucks for residencies from artists like DJ Z-Trip and DeadMau5. Even the Joint at the Hard Rock, a 4,000-person venue typically used for rock concerts, has had success with concerts by artists like Tiesto.
But Rotella admitted even he was surprised by the success of June’s Electric Daisy Carnival, which took home the Best International Festival honors at last month’s Ibizia DJ Awards.
“We only had two months to give the fans time to plan to be here,” he said. “We didn’t know how the fans were going to react and they absolutely loved it.”
EDC attorney and spokesperson Simon Lamb said Insomniac has been in business for 17 years and has produced over 250 events including Nocturnal Wonderland in San Bernardino and solo concerts all over the country by artists like Porter Robinson and Designer Drugs.
Insomniac’s most notorious concert was a 2010 sellout at the L.A. Coliseum that came under fire after a 15-year-old girl died from a drug overdose. The Coliseum’s GM Pat Lynch and Booking Director Todd DeStefano later stepped down amid allegations of “potential conflicts of interests” in their dealings with Insomniac Productions, according to a letter from City Controller Wendy Greuel, who is now conducting a broad-reaching audit of the facility. The Coliseum’s board of directors has also enacted stricter rules about hosting raves at the aging stadium.
But Los Angeles' loss has been Las Vegas’ gain, and EDC 2012 dates have already been announced — June 8-10.
“I remember the first time I gave an introduction to this event, it was to a room full of Metro Police officers and they were all a bit skeptical about what was going to happen with this music festival,” Lamb said. “By the end of the event, I think a lot of people became believers.”
Also on the agenda for EDC is a number of activations around Las Vegas at hotel properties and nightclubs, along with some copromoted concerts around town.
“The idea is to complete the integration throughout the city so it’s not just out-of-town guests spending three nights at the Speedway,” he said. The long-term plan is to package travel and hotel for VIP visitors, throw dozens of pool parties at locations like the Hard Rock and Palms hotels, and build a multiday music conference similiar to South by Southwest.
Pat Christenson from Las Vegas Events said EDC was comparble to a number of city-wide events — or Signature Events as his group calls them — that activate properties throughout the city. He pointed to the NASCAR Champions Week which included a parade down the Strip and Fanfest outside of the Wynn Hotel, or the National Finals Rodeo, hosted at the Thomas and Mack Center with activations at a dozen hotels along the Strip.
“Ten years ago fans followed artists, not events, but that’s certainly changing,” said Christenson. “Now fans can and do follow events year round. Our challenge is to find the fans who are most interested in our events and market to them year-round.”
Interviewed for this article: Paul Davis, (702) 693-4099; Pat Christenson, (702) 260-8605