EDC creator Rotella new partner in Life is Beautiful

EDC creator Rotella new partner in Life is Beautiful

Written by Alan Snel

Correction: This is a corrected version of an earlier article in the Review-JournalÕs Business section that misstated Pasquale RotellaÕs ability to enter downtown bars where he has an ownership interest. Because of pending bribery charges in California, Rotella is not allowed to exercise authority as an owner but can be a patron in the establishments.

Expect to see Pasquale Rotella, founder of electronic music and dance event promoter Insomniac, more involved in Las Vegas businesses these days.

The creator of Electric Daisy Carnival, the giant music and dance festival in its fifth year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday through Sunday, is a new partner of the Life Is Beautiful music and art festival, which has lost money its first two years in downtown Las Vegas.

Rotella plans to use his EDC and music and dance festival experience to try to turn around the bottom line for Life Is Beautiful.

Rotella has also invested in two downtown bars, while living in Las Vegas with his wife, Las Vegas celebrity Holly Madison, in Rancho Circle near Rancho and Alta drives.

RotellaÕs electronic dance music festival-producing outfit, Insomniac, which expects attendance of about 400,000 at EDC this year, wants to work with Life Is Beautiful to boost attendance at a festival that has been swimming in red ink after drawing 150,000 fans to a fenced-off section of downtown in 2013 and 2014.

ÒWe want to bring value. We plan to bring value. We donÕt do festivals to lose money. They need more people to be aware and to have a higher attendance,Ó Rotella said recently. ÒWe have a fan base we bring to the table.Ó

Life Is Beautiful attracted crowds of 60,000 during its two-day debut in 2013 and 90,000 during a three-day window in October 2014. This yearÕs event is Sept. 25-27.

Rotella plans to use Insomniac-produced festivals to drive dance-loving fans to Life Is Beautiful, which will also be infused with dance music acts.

When the partnership was announced, the parties said, ÒTo expand the festivalÕs dance music platform, Insomniac will curate a stage that will incorporate the companyÕs signature over-the-top production, pyrotechnics and creative displays.

ÒThis unique stage, one of four on the festival grounds, will be home to amazing displays of lasers and light alongside some of the biggest names in dance music.Ó

Privately owned Insomniac, based in Los Angeles and in partnership with Live Nation, produces 13 to 15 festivals a year.

Rotella said he has also has invested in two downtown bars Ñ Commonwealth and Park on Fremont. Because of pending bribery charges in California, Rotella is not allowed to exercise authority as an owner but can be a patron in the establishments.

This month, the city of Las Vegas Business Licensing said Rotella is still under that restriction until he provides the city documentation that the criminal case in Los Angeles is adjudicated, city spokesman Jace Radke said.

Another Rotella connection to Las Vegas is that he said heÕs friends with Zappos.com CEO and Downtown Project founder Tony Hsieh, who helped bankroll the launch of Life Is Beautiful.

Rotella said he has looked around the valley for potential locations to host Electric Daisy Carnival. But in the end, Las Vegas Motor Speedway has proved to be a suitable home, Rotella said.

Insomniac is in the fifth year of a 10-year deal at the speedway property, which is home to NASCAR and National Hot Rod Association races and many local racing events.

Rotella said Insomniac is always looking for good events and venues.

ÒWe want to expand our portfolio of shows and festivals,Ó he said. ÒWeÕre always looking to grow and do innovative things and things outside of the box.Ó

Insomniac said EDC has generated more than $1 billion of economic spending in Clark County during the past five years, but criticized the new, updated live entertainment tax signed into law.

ÒThis new law is extremely detrimental to our industry, one that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for local and state governments while operating on razor-thin margins in an already high-risk environment,Ó InsomniacÕs statement said. ÒEven though EDC will not be impacted this year, this tax increase could force us to operate at a loss in the future.

ÒThatÕs simply not a viable long-term strategy for any successful business. One thing is certain, we never shy away from a challenge, and we hope that we can find a way to produce Electric Daisy Carnival moving forward, while still maintaining the quality experience that our fans expect from us.Ó

Contact reporter Alan Snel at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273. Find him on Twitter: @BicycleManSnel

EDC creator Rotella new partner in Life is Beautiful