Answers From The Golden Ticket Giveaway

A few months ago, we asked Disco dancers to help celebrate our 20 glorious years in the business by entering in The Golden Ticket Giveaway. We wanted to contest to be a celebration about you, the fans, who’ve supported us every step of the way. We asked contestants to share the contest on Twitter and tell us how dance music has affected their life. While the winner(s) didn’t receive a tour of any chocolate factory, fans did win various prizes and one lucky person won two tickets to every Disco Donnie Presents event in 2015 – that’s way better than a chocolate, wouldn’t you agree?

Now that the contest is over and the winners have been chosen, we’d like to share their answers to our equivocal question, “How has dance music affected your life?” Thank you to everyone who entered The Golden Ticket Giveaway:

Andrew Snyder

Danielle Lewis

Itzel Alva

Luis Zuniga

Nadia Borras

Cheers to 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents With Our New Video

Disco Donnie Presents is 20 years old and over the past year, we’ve been publishing exclusive content on the site that depicts our journey throughout electronic music and its culture. From Jnco’s, to fuzzy leg warmers; teddy bear backpacks and kandi; intimate clubs to outdoor massives, we’ve certainly seen a lot in our 20 years.

Since we’re already in the party business, we didn’t have a birthday party but we did get some presents in the form of a video. Sending their best wishes from various festivals and shows, we received congratulations from fans, partners, and artists like Tiësto, Armin Van Burren, Hardwell, Krewella, Steve Aoki, Deorro, Seven Lions and many more!

Check out the video and here’s to 20 more years of dancing, laughter, love, and music!

Enjoy a New ‘Fore on the Floor' at the 1st Annual Charity Golf Classic During Winter Music Conference

Making its debut as an official Winter Music Conference event, come tee-off with us at the inaugural Fore on the Floor, Charity Golf Classic on Wednesday, March 25th. We’re teaming up with Life In Color and TJR at the Miami Beach Golf Club to rally around the troops and raise money in an unconventional way — good music and a round on the golf course!

Our day on the Floor aims to recognize the sacrifices our soldiers and their families make to protect our civil liberties. Your fee-to-swing goes to benefit the Watering Seeds Organization, whose programs are dedicated to providing care for wounded warriors while funding critical rehabilitation and other athletic programs.

Individual and group packages include a spot to play, sponsored giveaways, and an awards dinner with reception and to score an industry discount, simply enter promo code ‘WMC’ on the ticketing page.

For more information or inquires about player and sponsorship packages, please contact Matthew Gavin and Jeff Straughn.

Find 'The Golden Ticket’ and You Could Win Two Tickets to EVERY Disco Donnie Presents Event This Year!

With 20 glorious years under our belt, you could say we’ve been around the block a few times – heck, we’ve probably thrown a party on that “block” too. We feel honored to have such an amazing group of fans that have supported us each and every step of the way, so as a thank you, we’re launching The Golden Ticket Giveaway – no, there won’t be any tours of a chocolate factory but one lucky fan will win tickets to every Disco Donnie Presents event this year, which is way better than chocolate anyway.

How to Enter

To enter The Golden Ticket Giveaway, head over to the contest page and “spread the love” with a retweet. Then tell us in a few words on what dance music means to you.

The 1st place winner will take home two (2) tickets to EVERY Disco Donnie Presents show in 2015 including the Ultimate Music Experience, Something Wonderful, Sunset Music Festival, Beach Blanket Bingo, Sun City Music Festival, and Something Wicked.

Think you can handle of the awesome? Start spreading the Love today with the The Golden Ticket Giveaway and be on the look out for some other great prizes.

Here’s to 2015 and another 20 years!

Happy 20 Ravin' Years of Holiday Disco

At Disco Donnie Presents, we’ve been decking the [dance] halls with boughs of disco for 20 years now. Whether you’re a new Disco dancer or a veteran, we want to say thank you for raving out with us and spreading the disco cheer.

For our greeting card this holiday season, we asked everyone what they were doing many years ago when Donnie was throwing his legendary parties in New Orleans. And in the photo and messages below, you’ll see many stages of raving from the Disco team.

From our family to yours, we hope you have a very Disco holiday and may the good spirits of the season meet you with happiness, fill your hearts with peace, and pump your speakers with bass!

20 Years of Raving, A Disco Miracle!

Evan, head of the marketing, was going through an awkward phase in life. “22 and a real mess. John Lennon glasses and plenty of disco house. I still don’t have grey hair, so I think about a year or two away from meeting Donnie.”

Stu may be finding talent for our lineups now, but in his picture, he wasn’t even old enough to attend. “Hello, yes, is this Disco Donnie? Is your rave really 18+? ….what if I have a note from my mom saying it’s OK!?”

Our head of hospitality, Andrea has been raving with Disco almost since the beginning. “My picture is from a party at the State Palace Theater in New Orleans in 1998 – I’ve been trying to work for Donnie ever since!”

His current job sees him bringing talent to a city near you, but in Amin’s picture he’s clearly on some type of thug holiday. “I didn’t choose the Disco thug life – the Disco thug life chose me.”

Holding it down as president of the company, Michele is an original Disco gangster. “In 20 years, I may look a little different, but my love for the scene hasn’t changed a bit!”

Before he was leading the web team, Eric was part of the generation who wasn’t afraid to make a glowing statement. “Back in my day we didn’t have websites or the twitters. We had greasy fliers with sketchy info lines.”

As vice president of the company, Kevin sports a bald is beautiful look now. But in his picture, he’s on the blonde ambition tour, “Blondes do it better! I’m only 100,000 points away from Platinum status.”

Rob oversees our social media – which is perfect considering his picture is from an era where forums reigned supreme. “What do you mean I can’t meet Tiësto? I’m going to tell everyone on my message board about this!”

Next time you’re wowed by the production at one of our events, thank Allen – who, coincidentally, had a similar reaction when he went to his first show, “Oh my god… This is what a rave is? I’m gonna rave till I die! Perfecto and Global Underground foreverrrr!”

Currently lord of the box office, Leon has always had an affinity for travel, “It’s 2001 and I’m flying both cars and ravers at 4:00 AM in the dead of winter. Those were the best days of my Disco life – when PLUR was in our DNA!”

Our ticketing guru Kelly has been a diva for a long time, “Making raves fashionable since 1999!”

Chief of the medical and security department, Edwin knows how to keep calm under pressure, “I’ve got so much PLUR, I’ve gotta give you some!”

Making sure we don’t run around like chickens without heads, our executive assistant Natalie hasn’t noticed much change in her day-to-day tasks. “I used to hang out with people who wore diapers, now I change them.”

KellCobb can nail down anything on the production side of things these days, but he still gets nostalgic. “Those were the good old days, beepers, vinyl, dance floors and when Limelight wasn’t a David Barton Gym.”

20 Years of Raving, A Disco Miracle

Celebrating 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents: Vampire Stripper Sluts from Outer Space

Whether you’ve been throwing parties for 20 years or for one year, you will have “hecklers;” the people who seem to always have something to say about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. And is was no different for the early days of Disco Donnie Presents. But Donnie always knew how to turn something negative into something fun.

One of the ways Donnie kept in touch with attendees was through email lists, “So basically, [after] I’d come home from a show, I would check to see what people thought about it and how I had done,” laments Donnie on his former post-show routine, “They were very critical people, it was like the worst-of-the-worst. They were never happy with anything.”

Creating [Another] Random Title

Most of the earlier parties had a very relaxed look on stage access – in fact, it was almost encouraged. But not everybody liked the view from down below, “[At the party] you had people dancing up there and whatnot, and I got an email of someone complaining that there were ‘stripper sluts’ on stage up there.” Never one to dwell, Donnie took the critique and got creative, “So when I started thinking about Halloween, I just printed that email and started messing around with different concepts.” Much like the random hodgepodge genius that was Psychedelic Pimp Daddy Land, so was the plight of Vampire Stripper Sluts from Outer Space, “It wasn’t necessarily gonna be a Halloween concept, I just thought it would be cool to tag those names together. I strung together vampire stripper sluts and the outer space thing kinda tagged along with the old movie theme concepts I’d done.”

The First Vampire Stripper Slut

The events leading up to first Vampire Stripper Sluts from Outer Space in 1998 were less than desirable. Always known for having innovative and creative fliers, Donnie wanted the Halloween event to be the first rave to have a 3D flier – an novel concept that as it turned out, was easier said than done, “I didn’t get a chance to see the design on the flier until I went to go pick them up at the airport,” Donnie remembers, “the internet wasn’t as accessible as it is today, so it was just really problematic to have to scan an incredibly large image and send it to somebody.”

Even though he was unsure of how the flier turned out, Donnie was still prepared to see the design through, “I bought a whole bunch of 3D glasses that I was gonna staple to the flier so everyone knew it was 3D.” As Donnie opened the box, excitement turned into anxiety rather quickly, “The flier was super blurry and was not even remotely in 3D.” But that wasn’t the only problem with the flier, “I booked DJ Shadow to headline the jungle room, which was a really big deal at the time, but the designer forgot to add his name to the flier and didn’t realize it until after all the fliers had printed. So they had to manually add his name in the smallest font to fit in the little bit of space left on the back.” Admittedly, that quick fix, albeit the best that could’ve been done, was the catalyst another incident Donnie was about to face.

Taking to the State Palace Theater on October 31st, Überzone, one the staples and all-time favorites of the rave scene, headlined the event. Joining him was pioneering UK techno artist Luke Slater, Perfecto Label favorite Sandra Collins, American progressive trance talent Christopher Lawrence, and lest we forget, DJ Shadow. The show went off without a hitch… almost. As the party was coming to a close, DJ Shadow had a little “fun” with the audio equipment. To quote one reveler from an archived rave forum, “Didn’t Blackalicious with DJ Shadow destroy the sound system in the Jungle Room? Literally?” Yes, is the answer to that question. But despite the damage, most of the security and audience were unfazed, “They probably thought it was part of the show,” jokes Donnie.

Spaced Out Vampire Stripper Sluts

Another memorable edition of Vampire Stripper Sluts took place on October 27, 2001 at State Palace. Headlined by Deep Dish, who has just reunited recently, performed a six hour set at the Halloween event. Sandra Collins returned, joining Sharam and Dubfire on stage, but the show also had veteran UK drum and bass acts Stakka & Skynet and Usual Suspects, influential German drum and bass talent Panacea (who performed a three turntable set), and the UK’s IDM and breakbeat fusion talent, Jega. If ever there was a lineup to send you to outer space, this was the one to do it.

The Vampire Stripper party has become a staple during the Halloween season as years passed. And if you thought Psychedelic Pimp Daddy Land and Vampire Stripper Sluts from Outer Space and something in common, you’d be right, “Those are kinda like brother and sister parties… Or at least cousin parties!” Donnie chuckles.

Celebrating 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents: Psychedelic Pimp Daddy Land

For the 20 years that Disco Donnie Presents has been in the business of making people dance, the themes for our parties have always been a buzzworthy topic.

When raves were in full-force towards the mid to late 90s, promoters were constantly attempting to outdo one another. And if you ever read a full list of titles given to each party, you’d see why, “It seemed like you always had to name your party something super silly,” Donnie remembers, “people had Candyland, ‘Supa’ this, and ‘Phat’ that – it was just the same thing over and over again.” We all know Donnie was never one to conform, so he started brainstorming, “I wanted to do something that was kinda like Candyland but funnier. So basically, the goal was to try to string together as many nonsense words together to make an awesome party name.”

Donnie eventually settled on the name Psychedelic Pimp Daddy Land for the Memorial Day weekend event. The first edition took place on May 24, 1997 at State Palace Theater in New Orleans. The psychedelic lineup featured techno live act Prototype 909, big beat live act Cirrus, and other favorites like Kimball Collins and Terry Mullan. The party was, of course, a hit and became an annual event. But because of Donnie’s (awesomely) severe case of creativity, the titles were always prone to change, “The reason I changed the title every year was so that the flier would look different. You had shows that just use the same name and the same art every year – which is smart, you know, people recognize the art and they’ll be like, ‘oh, I remember that party.’ But I didn’t wanna do the same things over and over. I wanted to keep changing it. And maybe that wasn’t the best business plan, but it made me sleep better at night.”

Over the years, themes included Pimp Daddy on Ice, Pimp Daddy’s European Vacation, Pimp Daddy’s Weekend Furlough, Pimp Daddy Needs to pay Child Support…the list goes on, “I chose whatever was topical, or whatever I thought was funny enough and I just themed it out to keep it a little more interesting.”

Though the titles were made in jest, other promoters thought of it as competition, “I was making fun of rave party names but I ended up creating a monster because other promoters started making even sillier titles.” But Donnie will always remember the show fondly, “Aside from Zoolu, that’s my favorite party.”

Celebrating 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents: Attack of the 50ft Raver Zombies

With 20 years of being in the business, we’ve certainly seen many evolutions of rave culture here at Disco Donnie Presents. From Jnco’s, to fuzzy leg warmers, teddy bear backpacks, and kandi, rave attire has always been known to raise a few eyebrows. With most society unaccustomed to the appearance of the party-goers, Donnie decided to poke a little fun at his rave family with Attack of the 50ft Raver Zombies.

Taking place on January 24, 1998 at State Palace Theater, the inspiration for Attack of the 50ft Raver Zombies was fairly innocent, “I took something from my childhood that I was interested in and basically tried to make it into a party,” Donnie says, “I used those early memories as the catalyst for what I was doing.”

As a kid, you probably could’ve found Donnie in front of a black and white TV watching horror films on the UHF channel, “It was interesting to me,” Donnie recalls, “you had like The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Planet of the Apes, The Blob… when I was trying to come up with a different theme for a show, I just strung some of those movie concepts together.” For Donnie, using this format to think of new themes worked for quite some time too, but we digress.

Thick in the burgeoning rave movement, those on the outskirts of the culture weren’t really sure what to think of ravers, “It was kinda like this time where everyone was down because [people thought] ravers were terrible; nobody liked ravers, you know?” Trying to bring some comedy to opinions of outsiders, Donnie started brainstorming, “I took something from my childhood that I enjoyed and I tried to make a party theme of an old movies from the 40s and 50s – what would it be like if instead of Godzilla or giant 50ft woman, its like a 50ft raver. Back then, people were scared of aliens, in the 90s, people were scared of ravers.”

Attack of the 50ft Raver Zombies had a rather haunting lineup as well. Headliners included West coast rave favorite Astral Matrix, Chicago house legend DJ Sneak, and “Get Get Down” creator Paul Johnson.

Many parties derived from the Attack of the 50ft Raver Zombies theme – but we’ll save those for next week.

Celebrating 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents: Zoolu

If you were to ask an old school raver to name some of the famous parties from the golden days of rave, it wouldn’t take long for them to mention the name Zoolu. Certainly one of our most-loved parties, Zoolu has become a mainstay to the city of New Orleans. As we wrap up the 20th edition of the event this past March 1-3rd, we’re opening the archives to see how the party has evolved from its humble beginnings.

Early Zoolu

Taking its name from the famous Zulu Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans, the flyer for the first Zoolu, born in 1995, looked an awful lot like the poster for the parade – only with different colors and a quick rearranging of characters. Featuring many out-of-state DJs, the inaugural Zoolu brought in about 1,500 in attendance to the State Palace Theatre, marking an unusually successful first run. The legendary lineup hosted various pioneers of electronic music and its culture including Chicago’s rave mainstay Mystic Bill, turntablist extraordinaire Terry Mullan, DJ Astroboy, and Reese. Taking place on February 25th, the carnival atmosphere that surrounded the city was perfect for the event and it became a tradition to do forever hold Zoolu during Mardi Gras weekend.

The second Zoolu in 1996 was the first time the event expanded to two nights. By this time, the flyers for Donnie’s shows were almost as famous as the parties themselves and this one was no different, “It’s definitely one of the best flyers we’ve ever done,” Donnie says, “the flyer still to this day–if you showed it to somebody, they’re gonna be like ‘that’s a sick flyer.”

Zoolu 2 was also the first time that Donnie got Rabbit in the Moon to headline, “That was a game changer,” Donnie recollects, “they did performance art while they played [a live PA set] and it just changed everything for New Orleans. People don’t forget the first time they saw Rabbit in the Moon. It was a really special night.”

Remembering Zoolu Through the Years

Every Zoolu was unique – if not because of the great lineups than because of their creative flyers, mailed all across the country. Some of the flyers raised a few eyebrows – our favorite being the one for Zoolu 9, “I thought it would be funny to put my son on the flyer but as a raver.” With his being son only two at the time, Donnie got improvised with the costume, “I went to the store and bought Adidas sweatpants, Adidas shell toes… I went to the gas station and bought a 40oz Miller High Life, dumped it out and then filled it with apple juice. Then I put one of my chains around him. The designer added some tattoos to the final product… I’m sure [my son] will find it humorous when he gets older.”

Zoolu 6 is one Donnie remembers fondly. It was the last edition of the popular event before he was indicted under charges of being in violation of the so-called “crack house statute” a few months later. During the months Donnie was facing criminal charges, he admits Zoolu 7 was, “thrown together and kinda last minute.” Charges were eventually dropped in March 2001 and Zoolu 8 was the first time the party was able to return to its home of the State Palace Theater.

Even with a crazy history, the Zoolu parties still have a special place in the hearts of many who attended – even after 20 years. And if you were wondering the secret to how it lasted so long, Donnie explains it quite nicely, “We were just trying to do shit no one had seen before and we weren’t trying to repeat ourselves either.”

Celebrating 20 Years of Disco Donnie Presents: The DJ is God

Disco Donnie Presents is 20 years old and to help celebrate our milestone we’ll be posting exclusive content on the site all year long that tracks our journey throughout the years.

Disco Donnie’s parties quickly became known for their wildly outrageous and unusual themes – how he came up with each theme was, at times, equally outrageous. The DJ is God was one party that was born from a questionable experience. In 1998, Donnie received a strange voicemail, “Some guy contacted me saying he was a minister and wanted to start a rave church.” Though common sense told him to do otherwise, Donnie took a meeting with the supposed minister, “The guy was a lunatic, but listening to his rants had me thinking. He said a rave was like a church – crowds facing the stage, raising their hands, all happy, expressing themselves and whatnot. In our case, the DJ was god (of the rave).”

When it came down to creating the lineup for DJ is God, Donnie set his hopes high. At the time, Carl Cox was a worldwide talent in the UK who rarely made it over stateside to perform. Best known for his hits “I Want You (Forever),” “Does It Feel Good To You,” and “The Planet of Love,” Carl Cox was definitely a long shot. Donnie jokingly lamented to some of his peers, “If I can get Carl Cox to play at my party, I’ll retire.” Speaking all but too soon, Carl Cox actually agreed to play the party, setting an unprecedented booking for the New Orleans promoter.

For the weeks leading up to DJ is God, Donnie threw three separate pre-parties – and the headliners for those were equally as impressive. The pre-parties featured Canadian techno pioneer Richie Hawtin, Ovum label boss Josh Wink, and the legendary Grandmaster Flash. After each party, excitement continued to mount for DJ is God, and when it finally came time for the main event, fans were more than ready to dance the night away.

Taking place at the State Palace Theater in July 98, DJ is God drew in thousands of attendees from all over the country. Much to Donnie’s surprise, many “rival” party organizers asked for his promotional contacts after DJ is God party, trying to make good on his “I’ll retire” comment. But we all know how that turned out.

With many claiming it was sacrilegious, Donnie turned The DJ is God party into a balanced series following it with The DJ is the Devil and The DJ is Immortal. All three parties have become some of our favorite stories to tell. Join us next week as we uncover another party from the past.