Here is the story of how “Disco” Donnie Estopinal got his name back. He first met Bob Sillerman and they launched SFX, their publicly traded dance music company. They founded it alongside Shelly Finkel in 2012.
In 2015, it fell into bankruptcy and this ignited the idea that Disco Donnie needed to regain control over his company. When LiveStyle bought Disco Donnie Presents and came out on top of SFX’s bankruptcy, he knew he needed it.
Where It All Began
Estopinal’s history started like any other underground host. The dance scene in New Orleans was held in empty warehouse spaces. Soon, he started the meat locker movement and held parties behind those doors. He had no insurances and no permits. Estopinal fooled police into thinking DJ equipment was being tested in front of audiences. He booked talents like Paul Oakenfold, Frankie Bones, and The Crystal Method. Donnie grew bigger in the dance promotional wheelhouse, with 1,000 events in 2019 at more than 1 million tickets sold.
With such success as an indie promoter (18 years to be exact), he met Sillerman and discussed consolidation. SFX II Entertainment got sold off for $4.4 billion and became what is Live Nation today.
SFX II filed for bankruptcy again, along with more than a dozen lawsuits. Their $1 billion plan to conquer the dance music world didn’t go accordingly. Estopinal fought for resurgence through parties along with the other promoters caught in the mess. After four years, Sillerman lost his battle to cancer and passed away in November. His position in the company dissipated.
Here Are The Results
LiveStyle now needed to explore selling several assets. Estopinal met Andrew Axelrod, LiveStyle chairman, and secured his company back. He also secured his own name back.
He now holds full ownership of his company after four months of negotiation. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, he knows it’s not wise to buy a company right now. But his story behind all this is what speaks the most. He has faced federal scrutiny and jail time. He endured a squabble with Pasquale Rotella of Insomniac, over rights to EDC outside California.
His sole focus now is taking this once in a lifetime opportunity to shape what the concert industry will look like in the future. And that is how Disco Donnie intends to get his groove back.