Disco Donnie shares his success secrets, Ubbi Dubbi Music Festival, and the rise of EDM
Donnie Estopinal is no stranger to electronic dance music. He is the founder of entertainment company “Disco Donnie Presents” and is also the proud owner of the highly anticipated festival, Ubbi Dubbi at Panther Island in Fort Worth, Texas. This festival has been in the works for years and will finally come to fruition on Saturday, April 27 through Sunday, April 28.
After graduating from Louisiana State University, Donnie started throwing parties under different company aliases such as Moon Patrol, Freebass Society and Disco Productions, which eventually became Disco Donnie Presents. Donnie explains how he was planning Ubbi Dubbi in the mid-90s, but never launched. However, Donnie never let the idea go and eventually followed through to his desires with the Ubbi Dubbi Festival in 2019.
Dancing Astronaut was able to sit down with “Disco Donnie” himself and chat about Ubbi Dubbi’s ambitious lineup, the process on building a festival from the ground up, and where he hopes the dance music scene will go moving forward.
The Ubbi Dubbi lineup is stacked with great talent. What was your process or strategy in booking headlining acts or the venue spot for this festival?
Normally, we start the booking process for festivals about a year in advance. We only decided to do Ubbi Dubbi at the end of last Summer so we had a shorter time frame to get it put together. We definitely set out to make the line up unique by mixing in some new headliners with some of the more traditional ones. We also made it a goal to book a lot of up and coming artists that we think could possibly be headliners for us in the future.
What is the meaning behind the name of your Texas festival, Ubbi Dubbi? How did this come to fruition?
Ubbi Dubbi was the name of a party I was planning in New Orleans in the mid 90s. It never happened, but I was always hoping to pull it off someday. The name came from a super whacked out PBS educational show called Zoom. It’s basically a secret language for kids.
Now celebrating the 25th anniversary, DDP has consistently been a leading name in the electronic music festival scene – in this age of huge saturation within the festival market, how have you ensured survival and profitability for your brands? Do you have a secret to your success?
It has been a real roller coaster ride. From success in the 90s to the scene crashing in 2001 to the enormity of it all right now, there have been so many ups and downs. We have seen a lot of people come and go and people’s musical tastes change with whatever is popular at the moment. I think our longevity is probably due to us championing electronic music throughout the years. Other people are always changing teams but we never did, and we never will.
What do you recommend to young individuals who want to pursue their passion in dance music promotion/event organization?
You need to be willing to pay your dues. There are so many different positions in the industry and you should have a good understanding of them all if you want to be successful . The basics of promotion are at the ground level and it’s a step many people try to skip or gloss over. My advice is that if you love it then never give up the dream and with a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck it will happen for you.
“EDM” has become so popular within the last decade. Where do you hope to see the dance music scene go? Do you think it will continue to be one of the top music genres?
I can 100% say that electronic music is here to stay. We might not be on top right now, but will always be a part of the conversation going forward. Trust me, it’s still growing. Just wait and see.
In honor of the inaugural edition of Ubbi Dubbi Festival, we’ve dug up some of our favorite old school pictures of Disco Donnie!
Photo credit: Rukes