Disco Donnie Presents is one of the largest independent concert promoters in the US, throwing over 1,000 shows and moving more than 1 million tickets in 2019, including events like Freaky Deaky and Ubbi Dubbi. Founded in the late ’90s by “Disco” Donnie Estopinal in New Orleans, the company was bought by Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment in 2012. After SFX went bankrupt in 2015, Disco Donnie and the other subsidiaries purchased by the company continued to throw shows as Sillerman and his business went through the ringer in the courts.
When SFX was rebranded LiveStyle, Estopinal saw the opportunity to buy his company, and name, back. Billboard reports that LiveStyle was looking to offload a number of assets back in December, including React Presents, which was originally offered to Donnie in addition to his own company.
However, concentrating on his own brand, he declined (React eventually went to LiveXLive) and, earlier this month, closed the purchase of Disco Donnie Presents from LiveStyle.
Of course, right now seems like an odd time to buy back an events company.
“Nobody’s really said ‘congratulations’ or ‘great job.’ It’s more like, ‘Oh, are you sure?’ Or, ‘Okay, well, I support whatever decision you make.’ I understand people are worried about it, but I had to do what I had to do,” Estopinal told Billboard. “I went through everything, including the bankruptcy and had to swallow my pride a bunch of times and weather some crazy shit in the music world.”
He continued, “We’re all going to have to work through this and right now no knows when things will go back to normal. But I think we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to shape what the concert industry is going to look like in the future. I’m excited to be a part of that and do it as Disco Donnie, with the company I started, under my name and my own terms.”