Pasquale Rotella, Gary Richards, Perry Farrell talk festivals at EDMBiz Day 2
The final panel of EDMBiz Day 2 this year was owned by the festivals. With some of the world’s largest festival promoters lined up on the conference’s stage together, it was a bit of a rare opportunity to hear these mastermind planners speak on some of the top issues and topics of the hour — everything from “boutique festivals” to radius clauses to sponsorships. The panel consisted of AM Only’s Lee Anderson, Lollapalooza’s Perry Farrell, WME’s Joel Zimmerman, Alda Events’ (I Am Hardwell, ASOT, and Armin Only) Allan Hardenberg, HARD Events’ Gary Richards, and of course Insomniac’s Pasquale Rotella.
Rotella dominated much of the conversation, oscillating between ruminating on his stance about VIP at festivals, the importance of Burning Man, and exclusivity clauses in a short period of time. In his mind, there needs to be “more thought put into where people play and how often they’re playing” because in this day and age, dance music is not just a singular market — it’s a sprawling industry with almost endless possibilities. For example, if bookings used to just happen in LA, those bookings now compete with Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, just because the demand is there. Lee Anderson chimed in, noting that with more room for new talent at festivals, more artists are given an opportunity to grow and develop. Joel Zimmerman took it one step farther — while it’s understandable that festivals protect the exclusivity of their brands, there “needs to be a clear divide between a headliner and a developing act” with regards to how carefully radii clauses are regulated.
Although the moderator seemed to prompt a different reaction, the panel was in almost complete agreement about the importance of Burning Man for inspiring event producers. What’s different about Burning Man, as Rotella suggested, is that when you’re on the Playa, it’s like everyone around you is an organizer and a visionary, so it’s both challenging and refreshing for these men who delegate the terms of national festivals all year.
Perry Farrell made an important (albeit humorous) statement later on with regards to sponsorships — he stressed the importance of “keeping it cool for the kids” and the importance of genuine festivals for their fans. Many members of the panel agreed: it’s hard to ignore the influence of brands today, but they were all wary of over-saturation Each of these producers also seem to take their own slightly different approach — Allan Hardenberg and his crew typically spend six months on events’ technical riders alone, while Gary Richards works hard to strike the perfect balance between quality production and talent display.