POWER MOVE: With more than 300,000 attending his marquee event, his company has attracted bids at $100 million valuations.
THE RUNDOWN: Insomniac Events, the company that’s reportedly lining up $100 million bids from suitors including Live Nation and SFX Entertainment, was founded by Pasquale Rotella in 1993. Since then, its offerings have grown from illegal warehouse parties for a few hundred people to multiple-stage festivals that bring in hundreds of thousands of kids. And Rotella himself has become the Willy Wonka of EDM.
“Dance music has exploded, and some from the rock world have tried to treat it the same way, because that’s what they’re trained to do,” Rotella says. “But that’s not where the culture comes from.”
That insight, plus his marquee event, Electric Daisy Carnival — attracting a reported 300,000 to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2012 — helped make Rotella the biggest player in the EDM festival market, as well as its most desirable acquisition.
Those who pursue him, however, may also have to carry his legal baggage. Rotella was arrested in March 2012 on corruption charges, stemming from dealings with the Los Angeles Coliseum around the 2010 EDC, and the case is expected to go to trial later this year. Reports have cast him and former partner Reza Gerami as responsible for a string of drug-related deaths at Insomniac events. Yet Rotella’s profile in the industry and on social media is hardly that of a shady promoter.