Pasquale Rotella had a lot of good stuff to say about the success of his events to Forbes this week. The interview centered around his reasoning for starting Insomniac and the impact his festivals had on worldwide events as a whole. “At my first party I wasn’t looking at spreadsheets trying to make a buck or anything like that, he says. I was okay being broke cause I was very social and loving the music and excited about what I had experienced years prior going to some underground parties before they all crashed and burned.“ He says the underground scene dissipated in 1993 when insomniac was founded, and provided thoughtful insight as to why his events steadily gained the traction they did.
“I built these events for me and others of course with them in mind. But because I’m a fan I build them how I’d want them to be if I was able to just attend as an attendee. And I’m someone who gets bored with the same thing over and over again,” he says. So pushing the festival by using the latest technology, art, new music, new ideas, what my feeling is at the time, tapping into what the energy is in the culture, all those things push me forward cause I’m really just a raver from the dance floor that’s excited to go out.” One can easily see the proof in these words based on the imaginative vibes ever present at his Wonderlands and EDCs around the world, not to mention the several club events that take California by storm.
In terms of Coachella, undoubtably the festival that caused the country to step up their game, he explains his hand: “Maybe it would have existed in a different form, but I was right there when Coachella first started. I helped him cause I started opening a bunch of my raves and [Paul Tollett] was involved in some of my raves. And Coachella was a product of that. And how many festivals did Coachella inspire? So many. And it started from the Southern California rave scene. That’s what happened. I know cause I was there. This is not me hearing it from anyone else. I witnessed it and was fortunate enough to be part of it.” His thoughts may be seen as a humble brag, but they’re the facts. Though Coachella inevitably won out in terms of diversity in attendance thanks to their musical lineup, Insomniac’s events demonstrate a rising success in organizing large crowds of people.
I remember the day when there was no events. It’s beautiful to look around and see there all kinds of events going on. I look at Coachella and Lolla and I see how much the rave scene has impacted those events. Those events would not exist on the level that they exist without the rave scene. There were no festivals before raves, not in America. There had been touring shed events and arenas and stuff like that, but there was not a festival scene.
He explains how festivals really weren’t a thing:
I remember people trying to organize a festival and people would be like, “You mean like Woodstock? We don’t want that around here. There’s no way we’re having that around here.” It just wasn’t a thing, where Europe had festivals. The first spark of mass gatherings where there was a party going on was raves. There were no festivals.
And touches on the current state of dance music and events:
The music right now is the best it’s been in many years. I’m loving it. The events that we’re doing continue to grow and the people that are out there are really, really into it. There was a burst where dance music crossed over and became very trendy. And that’s passed. I thought the dip was gonna be bigger where it wasn’t so trendy and people were looking for something else. I expected, because I had been through this three or four times, where you see the popularity of dance music spike, and I thought there would be a much bigger dip. What’s so strange is it hasn’t gotten smaller for us, it’s gotten bigger. I expected it to get smaller, but it’s gotten bigger. There are less people involved in the industry. It’s strange that it’s gotten less popular commercially but we’re doing better than ever.
There are plenty of other insights in this long talk; check out the full thing on Forbes.com.