Industry Weekly


Insomniac’s Pasquale Rotella on building a different experience

Pasquale Rotella is launching a new music festival, Middlelands, in Texas this year.
Photo: Jon Estrada

Insomniac constantly grows and changes, staying on the edge of music and culture. After a year that included the first EDC in India, Insomniac is growing again with EDC Japan in Tokyo in April and the first-ever Middlelands festival in May at the Texas Renaissance Festival Fair Grounds. Industry Weekly recently caught up with the man at the center, Pasquale Rotella, at his Las Vegas home to discuss what’s to come in 2017.

You’re partnering with [Lollapalooza promoter] C3 to create Middlelands. How did that happen? It really came out of a friendship with C3, great guys, lots of synergy. When we walked through the site, I said, ‘We have to put something together for this—it’s too great of a venue.’ They host the largest renaissance fair in America at this location. I’m still the same person I was 20 years ago when finding a place, like a kid in a candy store, so to walk around and already have scenic villages and props set up, it was a dream find. It came together organically, and we’re really excited to dabble in something different.

Middlelands has a more diverse musical lineup. Yes, there are more live acts and definitely hip-hop. But we’ve always dabbled. People don’t realize, but EDC had a full hip-hop stage back in the day. We had Common headline, and Insomniac did OutKast on another festival. We’re always open. We keep exploring other genres, but even when we do something outside dance music, we always come back to it. I love other genres just as much, but in the community of dance music I feel at home. The gatherings are a lot different than others.

EDC continues to thrive in Las Vegas where other music festivals sometimes struggle. I eventually plan on bringing a new festival to Vegas. I don’t have anything set right now, but I believe the support is there, and it would be exciting for people to come again, not just once a year.

What are you excited about for this year’s fest in June? There are a handful of acts that have never played EDC before, so I’m stoked on that. We’re adding a new stage for our Dreamstate [trance music] event. The concept behind the Kinetic Field—we’re calling it the Gaia Stage, like Mother Earth—is going to be exciting and new. And just like we’re enhancing and having different concepts behind the stage areas, we’re now creating different roads or streets, like Electric Avenue last year. We get bored if we’re not taking things to another level, and we really build the event to be wowed and have a good time, because we’re passionate about it. It’s not always about spending more money and making it bigger; it’s about making it different and new.

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Brock is an award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for 20 years. He currently leads entertainment ...

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