Women of The Disco: Part 11

While it’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the Music Industry; Female leadership has proven to be an imperative factor for the success of the Electronic Dance scene. Women of The Disco is an initiative to highlight some of those powerhouses who are trailblazing the path and shaping the future of EDM.

Anita Sto

Anita Sto

Anita is a multimedia visual artist. Born and raised in Rome (Italy) Anita came to NYC in 2008 for an artist residency at the SVA (School of Visual Art) and then decided to stay.. For over 15 years Anita has worked as graphic designer nationwide and internationally, designing most of the time for the entertainment industry (Anita freelanced for museums, movie companies, music platforms) as well as a host of startup and mid-size retail businesses (creating logos, brand identities, marketing, advertising and product launch campaigns and websites).

Currently Anita is a part of the art department team at Avant Gardner, designing flyers of events, maintaining the new website and taking care of the brand identity of the company, providing (public or internal) assets that are in line with the company look and feel.

Anita believes that both her polyhedral professional background and the ability consequently to wear multiple hats have contributed to finding success within her profession.

Advice: Always put passion in what you’re doing, even when things might feel tedious.

Emily Alworth

Emily Alworth

Emily got involved in college concert and music industry organizations at University of Maryland. She started as a brand ambassador flyering and went on to manage the promoter team for Nu Androids in DC while she was there. The company brought house acts that weren’t stopping in DC at the time and only in larger markets.

After college, Emily then took a marketing agency job to learn transferable skills that she over took to Elements Music Arts Festival where someone took a chance on her as the Marketing Director shortly after school. Working for a company putting on a camping festival and warehouse parties in the city taught Emily a lot about multiple markets and having a small team allowed her to learn and get her hands in everything.

Currently, Emily works as the Senior Manager of Marketing & Partnership Strategy at Avant Gardner / The Brooklyn Mirage. There, she leads full lifecycle marketing campaigns with artists from announcement, presale, on sale, and up until the show and works on paid advertisements, emails, SMS campaigns as well as growing and maintaining partnerships/relationships. A notable achievement that Emily is proud of was leading the marketing for her first Madison Square Garden show this past October and selling out Black Coffee!

Some of Emily’s attributes that have helped her reach success in her career include her ability to maintain relationships and keep in touch with others over a number of years to continue to grow network and reliability/dependability. At the end of the day, people want to work with people they enjoy being around that can get the job done. A little humor goes a long way!

Advice: Be open to roles that may not exactly align with your current skill set. It’s always worth it to shoot your shot even if it feels like a long shot. Don’t be afraid to shoot a DM or a cold email to a company you like for any ways you can get involved or spread the good word.

Gabi King Fernandez

Gabi King Fernandez

Gabi grew up singing and acting, and has been a music lover her whole life. After college, two of her best friends worked for Goldenvoice and would always guest list her for shows and festivals. After seeing their work lives, she knew she wanted to work in the music industry! Gabi spent 2 years networking with people in the industry and relentlessly applying to any music related job she could find! She kept getting rejected (or no reply), and then finally in 2018, she saw a job posting for the agent trainee program at United Talent Agency. A friend from her sorority worked for the HR manager, so Gabi reached out and asked if she would submit Gabi’s resume. Gabi did not live in LA at the time, but she wanted this job so badly that she lied and said she did, because she wouldn’t have been able to interview otherwise. Gabi had a 10 minute conversation with HR on a Friday, and they asked her to start that Monday! Gabi worked at UTA for 2 years, then transitioned to management, working for a small hip hop management company, then Red Light management.

Gabi has always prioritized her physical, mental and spiritual health, and her journey in the music industry taught her that sustaining her health was crucial both personally and professionally. In November 2022, Gabi’s mom was diagnosed with lung cancer and simultaneously had a brain altering stroke. Gabi was beyond devastated, but she refused to give up hope and continued her holistic practices to the best of her ability. This experience ignited a calling within her, compelling her to do something that felt more fulfilling, and help others understand how a holistic lifestyle serves you during the best times, and saves you during the worst.

Now, Gabi coaches music industry professionals, helping them achieve a healthier holistic lifestyle. Having spent several years in the music industry, Gabi understands how challenging it can be for individuals in this field to prioritize their health and wellness. With their demanding schedules and on-the-go lifestyle, finding a healthy balance can be a struggle. Throughout her years in music, Gabi saw so many talented, skilled people burn out and leave the industry because they didn’t have strategies for sustainability. Gabi’s goal is to help them achieve balance, so they continue to excel at their craft, while prioritizing their physical and mental well-being – mind, body and soul. Check out her website gabikingfernandez.com to schedule a discovery call and learn more about her offerings!

Advice: Be nice to everyone! It’s the right thing to do and it pays off to be a good person. Take care of yourself!! People in the music industry get burnt out quickly, and it is so important to take care of your wellbeing if you really want a long-term career in the industry. Get good sleep, eat healthy, meditate, exercise, spend time in nature and with loved ones, and enjoy your life! Never take no for an answer. Don’t stop until you achieve your goal. Everyone is on their own path, so be patient and know that good things take time. What is for you will be yours, and what is not will pass – trust that the universe will give you what you need. Enjoy the process and enjoy the ride!

Jess Vilonna

Jess Vilonna

Jess started off her career in the hospitality industry. She managed multiple restaurant teams, and later became Director of Marketing & Special Events for TITOU Hospitality in West Palm Beach, FL, where she oversaw three high end restaurant brands, and a handful of French bakery concepts. She always had a love for event production, and knew she wanted to get back to her roots in the arts and entertainment industry, where she had spent her years growing up in dance and theater. After experiencing her first camping music festival in 2017, she knew that this space was not only where she wanted to be, but where she belonged. As luck would have it, later that year Jess was introduced to Michele Servais from DDP through a mutual friend, and Michele offered Jess the opportunity to come on board for Sunset Music Festival on the Artist Relations team. Since then, her involvement with DDP has grown, along with opening other doors which allowed her to become a full time contractor starting in 2021.

Currently, Jess works as a Project Manager for AMB Event Group, where she handles an array of projects ranging from artist and talent relations, creative programming for camping festivals, vendor operations, site experience and more. She has also spent the last two years working on corporate events with experience marketing firm GPJ, as an Associate Producer on their Broadcast Live Production team for Google Next, Workday Rising and Snowflake Data Cloud Summit. No matter the task at hand, Jess can think quickly on her feet, and make game time decisions to get the job done. Her favorite projects are those where she can cultivate creative spaces for festival goers, to enhance their time on site, by adding value to their overall experience.

Some notable achievements include being a host and MC for multiple events during the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, along with working at various festivals and events across the US including Shaq’s Funhouse, Daymond John’s Black Entrepreneurs Day, EDC Las Vegas, Okeechobee Music Festival, Friendship and Above & Beyond’s Group Therapy Weekender. A project which she is most proud of is supporting the Bahamas Relief Cruise, where she facilitated coordination for hundreds of volunteers who provided humanitarian relief to the residents of Grand Bahama Island after the devastating Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Finding success in any profession can be a challenge, but especially so in the entertainment industry, and especially as a female. Jess attributes her success to always being a team player, while being efficient and dedicated to any project. She credits her tenure in the restaurant industry which allowed her to develop versatile management skills, where her strengths evolved in organizational logistics and team building. She also gives a massive amount of credit to both her parents for instilling a strong work ethic from an early age, with the long lasting importance of being a self-starter.

Advice: Stay true to yourself and maintain your authenticity and integrity. Always be adaptable and learn to utilize your skill sets in different ways. Build a strong support network and surround yourself with colleagues and friends who can offer knowledge, experience, guidance and support throughout your career. Be resilient and learn to grow from past experiences – both good and bad, and evolve. Lastly, take the time to appreciate the good stuff. This industry can be draining and exhausting, but oh so rewarding. Take the time to relish in your accomplishments and say to yourself “Damn, we did that!”

Morgan Carafa

Morgan Carafa

During her undergraduate years studying film at High Point University, Morgan discovered her passion for promoting electronic shows when she spearheaded the Monster Energy Up & Up competition for the North Carolina Triad. Amidst the uncertainty wrought by the pandemic, Morgan seized the opportunity to pursue her Masters degree in Strategic Communication while simultaneously laying the groundwork for two entrepreneurial ventures. In collaboration with her classmates, Morgan co-founded The Clubhouse Live, a platform dedicated to delivering top-tier content and live streams for electronic artists. As venues reopened their doors, her own promotion company, The Common Experience, emerged as a unifying force within the Carolina communities. Additionally, she assumed the role of Marketing Manager for Charleston’s highly anticipated new festival, High Tide.

Soon thereafter, Morgan’s expertise garnered the attention of Loud Crowd and Auris Presents, where she began marketing various shows across key cities such as Dallas, Chicago, Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta, renowned venues like The Caverns, as well as festivals like ARC.

Her path led to an invitation to join the marketing strategy team at Avant Gardner in New York City. Here, she contributes her insights and creativity of the marketing realm to their family of venues, including The Brooklyn Mirage.

Advice: Be a light in this world and your field. Throughout my career, I’ve prioritized building connections, sharing knowledge, and showing genuine care. Cultivating your community can lead to unexpected opportunities, so never underestimate the power of a meaningful connection. Utilize social media as a powerful tool to maintain and strengthen relationships – embrace the opportunity to be a welcoming and recognizable presence!

Rachel Banks

Rachel Banks

Rachel has always enjoyed the music festival community and has years of experience in hospitality for restaurants. Rachel got the opportunity to be the Artist Lounge Bartender at HomeBass Music festival, and enjoyed the environment so much and wanted to learn more about the industry and explore different departments. Rachel started working anywhere she could and threw herself into learning and creating! Rachel has done a range over the past four years from Hospitality, Artist Liaison, Box office, Site Ops, Artist relations, Transportation and more but has found her passion is in creating the experience for everyone else :)

For Transportation, Rachel makes sure everyone gets to where they need to go! First, she works with the artists and teams to advance their schedules and times for pickups / departures, she builds a spreadsheet of all the scheduled rides for the drivers who will work off of the grid for the remainder of the festival, updating any changes in real time and making sure everything runs smoothly, while making sure the staff is properly taken care of as well!

Some of Rachel’s notable achievements are working for Electric Forest, Groove Cruise, Miami Music Week, EDCLV, and more! She loves working in different fields/ departments to further her knowledge in the industry. Rachel attributes her success in her career to being Organized, communicative, and understanding that everyone holds a role in the industry and working together makes for the best success. As well as enjoying the work she does and holding a good attitude whatever gets thrown her way!

Advice: Don’t Shrink yourself to make people happy, Be yourself and Be open to knowledge, your work ethic and passion will get you to where you need to go!

Tessa Butler

Tessa Butler

Tessa has always been a passionate music lover, singer and song-writer. While attending Hofstra University in their music business program she decided she wasn’t going to pursue her own artist career, but instead wanted to help other creatives and work within the music industry. Tessa worked various jobs including Brand Ambassador at Webster Hall, Marketing Intern and Production Assistant setting up live shows at Brooklyn Bowl, doing social media and newsletters for a concert photographer and blogger previously known as Nicky Digital, and many more part time gigs. She started working at Kobalt Music Publishing in September of 2018, so Tessa has been there for 5 and a half years now. Outside of her work in music, she also creates community gathering and workshop events in Brooklyn and beyond focused on community, healing and movement.

Currently at Kobalt Tessa looks after the US dance/electronic roster, and works creatively with their global roster of writers, producers and artists. She also works within the pop, alternative, and other genre spaces. Tessa focuses mainly on pitching music from their roster for artist projects, setting up sessions and collaborations and finding new artists and writers to sign to their roster. Tessa is passionate about making sure her clients feel seen and appreciated and getting to know them on a personal level so that she can make sure the sessions she is setting up can be as successful as possible and build real relationships.

Some of Tessa’s notable achievements include signing artists such as Aluna, Kaleena Zanders, ACRAZE, Zeds Dead/Deadbeats, AJ Mitchell, Chloe Moriondo and rei brown. Tessa also works closely with their artists such as Hayden James, Tiësto, Liquid Stranger, Loud Luxury, Ella Vos and many more. Some examples of songs she’s pitched that have gone on to be released include: – David Guetta, MORTEN and Clementine Douglas “Something to Hold On To”, co-written by their writer Tommy Lee James. – Zeds Dead, Hamdi, Warrior Queen “Criminal”, originally written by thier writer No/Me. – Levity, Dem Jointz “Flip It”, originally a demo pitch song by their writer/producer Dem Jointz. – Hayden James and SAYGRACE “Beggin’ You”, co-written by their writer Dan Heath. – Gryffin “Piece of Me”, co-written by their writers Sebastian Atas and Victor Sjöstrom. – CloZee and Ella Vos “Glow in The Dark” and many many more!

Tessa attributes her success to being genuine with creators, always being kind, and making sure people know they can count on you to get things done!

Advice: Don’t be afraid to show up as your authentic self. The best connections and relationships always happen when you’re letting your true self shine.

Women of The Disco: Part 10

While it’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the Music Industry; Female leadership has proven to be an imperative factor for the success of the Electronic Dance scene. Women of The Disco is an initiative to highlight some of those powerhouses who are trailblazing the path and shaping the future of EDM.


Nadia Khan

After graduating college and moving to a new city, Nadia wanted to meet new people and get involved in the EDM scene, so she volunteered to work a music festival in Austin, TX. Assisting with AR & BOH at ILLfest later led into working door & merch at local shows for Mark My Words. After a few club shows, Nadia got back into working festivals. She traveled around Texas supporting DDP’s staff team at the merch tent and Disco Mart, and this summer, Nadia had the opportunity to shadow Sunset Music Festival in Tampa as a DiscoU participant, overseeing stage management, production, media/marketing, and more.

In addition to assisting on site, Nadia enjoys covering entertainment news, culture, festivals, and new releases on behalf of Stage Hoppers — a social channel and media outlet for live music fanatics. She writes weekly articles and posts on their socials almost every other day. She is always drafting content in her head and searching for exciting opportunities and events to cover.

Planning ahead and being proactive has helped Nadia find success within her career. Balancing a 9-5 job, relationships, family time, and self-care can be a trip. Her weekends are almost always booked, but hey – she likes to keep busy.

Advice: Gain experience, in anything! Your first job may not be that glamorous, but stay open minded and learn quickly. Discover what you like/what you don’t like, what you’re good at/skills you lack, and meet as many people along the way. Take a deep breath every while. It’s a fast paced industry but as they say, time flies when you’re having fun!


Jessica Marais

Jessica started off as a promoter for Steez Promo in Baltimore, MD and then started her freelance career with festivals doing social media marketing & credential management. Jessica found her passion for Artist Relations & Event Management working for Nightmare & Big Dub Festival and then started working at Echostage & Soundcheckdc shortly after assisting with VIP and moved into Artist Relations & Hospitality.

Jessica’s current role consists of artist advancing, booking support talent, day to day project management, show operations, ticketing, assisting various departments in prep & DOS.

Some of her notable achievements include working at various festivals across the US such as Rolling Loud, Electric Forest, Insomniac events. She started off as Artist Liaison at The Vanguard and quickly moved to an Event Management role within a short period of time.

Some of Jessica’s attributes have helped her find quick success. She loves socializing, has a hard work ethic, and is detail oriented. She loves creating spaces for people to celebrate and bring happiness to others, dedication, passion for music as she started off as an electronic music fan back in 2012.

Advice: Don’t compare yourself to other people. You can literally do anything you put your mind to and don’t let anyone tell you differently. If you want something bad enough, go after it. Always be open to taking on different roles, working with different events, and learning more within the industry. Believe in yourself and always remember where you are now in life is once where you wanted to be. The sky’s the limit.


Nikki Denning

After Nikki’s first festival experience in 2018, she knew she wanted to work in the music industry. She had never been entirely certain about her career path but that was the first time she genuinely knew that she wanted to work in entertainment. In 2019, Nikki aimed for an internship but it was too early in college for her to earn credits. Over the next few years, Nikki made more friends in the music industry and built connections that eventually led to her to her first job in entertainment. During her last college semester, Nikki took internships in experiential marketing with Ideaison and social media with Space Yacht. As the semester ended, she finished her Ideaison internship but kept a part-time role at Space Yacht. A few months later, Nikki joined Thrive Music as an assistant, which later turned into a full-time position in social media marketing. A year later, Nikki sought new opportunities and started at Disco Donnie Presents as a marketing coordinator.

Nikki’s daily work involves collaborating with the marketing team to handle brand strategy, social media, and fan engagement for Disco Donnie Presents’ events. Nikki also gets to travel to festivals and see all of the team’s hard work come to life.

Advice: For those looking to enter the entertainment industry, my advice is when faced with something unfamiliar, give it a shot. Say “yes” to things outside your comfort zone, as you won’t know if you’re good at something until you try. Your first job doesn’t have to be your last, so take any opportunity to get your foot in the door.


Kacie Cheairs

Kacie has been an avid music lover for as long as she can remember, and has attended a wide variety of music festivals for over 10 years. In graduate school while studying clinical mental health, Kacie spent any free time she had attending local shows (shoutout Lizard Lounge) and music festivals as a way to decompress from school / life stressors and connect with others. What drew her specifically to EDM events was the positive energy and compassionate culture she noticed was a common and consistent standard within the community. As she became more connected in the Dallas EDM scene Kacie met some of her now closest friends, many of which happened to work within the industry, which is how she got her start. Kacie always had this pipe dream of utilizing her passion for mental health and wellness as a contribution the industry, and this dream became a reality in 2022 when Anna (her best friend and a DDP powerhouse) told her about Anna’s team’s desire to create a mental health/wellness activation called Outlet and were looking for a therapist to aid in establishing this program. Ecstatic at the opportunity, Kacie created a proposal containing ideas she had for the initiation of Outlet and met with the DDP President and Vice President Michele and Evan who then provided and trusted Kacie with developing this exciting and innovative activation.

To date, Kacie has had the privilege of implementing Outlet at 7 events including Ubbi Dubbi, Sunset, Freaky Deaky, SoWhat?!, Lights All Night, and Shaq’s Bass All Stars, with many more in the pipeline. She is very excited about the future of Outlet and the opportunity to increase awareness and continue the conversation on taking care of our mental health while reducing the stigma that’s long been associated with it.

Kacie’s day to day is spent working at a private practice as a mental health therapist meeting with teens and adults struggling with a variety of psychological impairments, which is a rewarding but at times exhausting vocation. Ironically, the creation of Outlet as a mental health/wellness resource for others was in itself an outlet for her, because she is able to channel a more creative and less ‘clinical’ side of her skill set. When managing the Outlet with her support staff, their responsibilities are to provide onsite resources and information relevant to mental health and engage with attendees who are seeking support or just want to take a break from the music.

Some of Kacie’s notable achievements include: NCAA collegiate athlete – volleyball, fully licensed LPC, National Certified Counselor, Outlet, presented as guest speaker at an international legal conference, providing research and education on mental health and wellness in the industry.

Some of Kacie’s attributes that have helped her find success within her career include having empathy and holding space for others while being an attentive listener. These are skills that she’s obtained over time and have contributed greatly to her success. It seems so simple, but in a world as fast paced and ever changing as ours these are attributes that are often unappreciated until experienced. It is truly amazing how impactful it is to our psyche when we feel listened to, understood, and validated. Also, patience during seasons of life that are difficult and ambiguous while remaining disciplined is essential.

Advice: A favorite quote of hers is “One day you will tell your story of how you overcame what you went through and it will become someone else’s survival guide” – Brene Brown. Kacie thinks this quote is especially impactful for women in the industry, because we endure certain struggles that are unique to us but can make us stronger in the end. However, sometimes life can feel isolating and intimidating in the face of adversity, so it is important to know you have a community of women in your corner who are here for you and support you.

Fear kills more ambitions than failure ever has, so don’t be afraid to take risks or try something unconventional because you never know the difference it could make or the lessons you could learn in the process.


Kylie Welker

Kylie went to USC and received her BS in Business Administration with a minor in Communications & the Entertainment Industry. She first wanted to go into the movie industry and received a job at IMAX in Santa Monica, CA as Executive Assistant to the CQO & SVP of Post Production. After 3 years at IMAX, Kylie decided to take time off and solo travel around the world. Three continents, 23 countries, and a year and a half later she headed back to LA. Her first job back was a temp job at Livestyle as Gary Richards’ Executive Assistant while he was building his new brands All My Friends and FriendShip. Kylie quickly became a permanent hire and with every new event he produced, she took on more responsibilities within the festival operations. By the 2020 sailing of Friendship, Kylie was handling all internal operations of the sailing which included overseeing the booking platform, guest relations team, staff logistics and travel, and merchandising. It was through this relationship that she met Bryan McClanahan and Patrick Randall at Maktive. During the pandemic Kylie moved back to San Diego, CA and as the festival industry began to reemerge in 2022 she got a call from them asking if she would come on as Creative Operations Manager for the company.

Kylie’s current role includes overseeing day to day operations in event and stage production and managing the execution and logistics of creative projects from start to finish. She also provides innovative solutions to creative problems, is a thought leader to her team and clients, and serves as the go-to person when solutions are needed. Kylie also develops strong client relationships and is seen as a true partner with a deep understanding of a client’s business and needs. In her day to day duties, she oversees budgets for large scale projects including staffing and equipment resourcing. As well as scheduling, running, and organizing team meetings and client projects onsite. Kylie always finds a way to get along with anyone she works with and earns respect by respecting others.

Advice: Don’t ever let people make you think that being a woman in this industry is a weakness, it is often where she finds her strength.

Ashli Zornes

Ashli Zornes

Ashli hails from a small Kentucky town and ventured to Denver right after graduating from Morehead State University. She forged a career in the corporate world, leading teams in the Telecom Industry at Verizon before becoming an Operations Leader at Tesla in charge of Colorado’s Delivery Operations. Despite her successful career, her heart felt unfulfilled, and she sought change.

After Ashli’s first visit to the awe-inspiring Red Rocks Amphitheatre to witness Alison Wonderland perform, she was completely captivated. That season, she found herself attending a total of 55 shows. However, it was in 2021, during her life-altering experience at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, that her journey took a significant turn.

At Ultra, Ashli had the privilege of crossing paths with the remarkable women of 2+2 Management. Throughout the weekend, they generously shared their profound passion and invaluable career insights, reigniting the fervent excitement she had been seeking. Inspired by their dedication, a few months later, Ashli took the bold step of founding A2Z Management. In this new venture, she fostered collaborations with a multitude of artists, photographers, visual jockeys (VJs), and dancers.

Simultaneously, while working closely with her team, Ashli ventured into the realm of Tour Management after a serendipitous encounter with Sippy, which led to an event in Denver. Over the course of 2022, she found herself assisting numerous artists and eventually became an integral part of Kumarion’s team as his Tour Manager. During this period, Ashli embraced every opportunity that came her way, enthusiastically saying “yes” to any task offered. Through these experiences, she had the privilege of meeting numerous individuals who generously shared their knowledge, enabling her to cultivate an exceptional work ethic.

In addition to her professional endeavors, Ashli willingly volunteered her free time to sharpen her skills with various companies. This included contributing to the success of events such as Beyond Wonderland, Okeechobee, and aiding local venues and promoters in Denver as they built shows and events from the ground up.

During her journey, Tyler Fey, her mentor, recommended she join the Festival Team for his and DDP’s company, Festication. There, Ashli collaborated with the Paradise Blue team and absorbed the values of the DDP, particularly inspired by Team Members like Megan Lazaroff and Michele Servias. Their words left a lasting impact on her. Ashli subsequently applied to become a part of the team, marking the start of her next chapter. Since then, as the Event Coordinator for Disco Donnie, she has had the pleasure of working with individuals who share a deep appreciation for the magic of music, assisting with various needs across all U.S. markets. Music is Magic.

Ashli attributes some of her success to building trust and being reliable.This industry requires integrity and good intentions. She has always prioritized follow-up. People appreciate being in the know and understanding the why. Loyalty and respect are pillars of strength and remembering that no role is too small to build towards your “bigness” is a way to keep your ego in check and stay humble.

Advice: Focus, Follow-up and Follow-through. Your intentions should always be indicative of a symbiotic relationship. Are you adding value? Are you learning something? Every bit of experience matters and if you stay humble, consistent, and open-minded, you will find your place. Ask for feedback, learn from it, and show growth, people will notice.

Announcing OUTLET - A Mental Health & Wellness Resource

outlet mental health and wellness

The newly-released OUTLET website provides information, tools, and resources relevant to mental health and promotes the continuance of mental health initiatives. The site contains rich resources on mental health, substance abuse, self-improvement and more.

Keep an eye out for OUTLET at festivals, too. OUTLET strives to create a space at festivals that offers mental and emotional support through interactive workshops, peer engagement, psycho-education, and more to aid individuals in overcoming challenges by transforming them into a positive personal growth experience.

Learn more at OutletMentalHealth.com

Announcing Disco U!

disco u

Disco Donnie Presents has always been in the business of furthering lives with the power of music, and we’ve recently extended that idea with the formation of our Disco U program.

Disco U was championed as a way to generate greater mobility within the ranks of the music industry to help aspiring professionals build a career path within the music business.

Disco U is a combination of two programs which include the Disco U Shadow to Spotlight program and the Leon Jackson Memorial Scholarship.

Video the Disco U portion of our website to learn more!

New Scholarship at Blair School of Music Honors Music Promoter Leon Jackson

A new scholarship fund has been established at the Blair School of Music in honor of Leon Jackson, the late music and event promoter who introduced a generation of Nashvillians to electronic dance music.

DDP Worldwide Inc., better known as Disco Donnie Presents, has made a $100,000 charitable contribution to Vanderbilt to endow the Leon Jackson Scholarship. This need-based scholarship will go to deserving undergraduate students at Vanderbilt Blair, with preference given to students from groups that are underrepresented at the school.

Jackson, who died of colorectal cancer in 2016 at age 47, was a beloved figure in Nashville’s nightclub community for more than 20 years, promoting dance and electronica events at venues throughout the city, starting as a “street team” promoter at Nashville’s Hillwood High School and Belmont University, then through his own production company, Ultimo Presents, and later in partnership with large-scale event promoters Insomniac Events and Disco Donnie Presents.

Jackson worked all his life to erase prejudice and pigeonholing in the music industry by giving a voice and platform to talented artists from a wide range of communities and musical genres. This scholarship continues that legacy, by helping increase diversity of viewpoint and experience at Vanderbilt Blair.

“In the five years since Leon left us, we’ve reflected on the positive mark he left in this world,” said Donnie Estopinal, CEO of Disco Donnie Presents. “He was a mentor to many, and helped provide opportunities to upcoming talent in the Nashville music scene. DDP couldn’t think of a more fitting way to continue his legacy than through an endowed scholarship in the field he loved most.

“Leon knew the power of higher education and its ability to change lives, and he viewed the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music as aspirational. But above all, he was an observer and listener. And he understood the importance of understanding diversity in life and its potential in business.”

“We are proud to honor the memory of Leon Jackson with this new scholarship,” said Lorenzo F. Candelaria, Dean of the Vanderbilt Blair School of Music. “In addition to foregrounding in perpetuity an important and dazzling entrepreneur in the music industry, the Leon Jackson Scholarship firmly underscores our commitment to inclusive excellence at Vanderbilt Blair.” Disco Donnie Presents is an award-winning and recognized leader in electronic dance music event production, founded by veteran promoter James “Disco” Donnie Estopinal. Since the company’s inception in 1994, DDP has sold more than 17 million tickets, producing more than 17,000 live events, arena shows and outdoor festivals in more than 100 markets around the world, including the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Panama. Annually, DDP is responsible for organizing and promoting nearly 1,000 club events across the U.S. ranging from Portland, Columbus, Houston, Tampa, New Orleans, Dallas, and St. Louis to name only a few. DDP is also known for producing such major festivals such as The Day After, Ultimate Music Experience, Sun City Music Festival and, most recently, Ubbi Dubbi, Sunset Music Festival, Ember Shores and Freaky Deaky.

For more information, contact Vanderbilt Blair Director of External Relations Kristin Whittlesey at kristin.whittlesey@vanderbilt.edu or 615-491-7460.

Disco Donnie Presents Honors First Responders, Veterans, and Gold-Star Families with $1,000,000 Ticket Donation

Veterans Day

Disco Donnie Presents, one of the country’s leading live music promoters, has pledged to donate $1,000,000 worth of tickets to its 2022 festivals and club events, including Ubbi Dubbi, Sunset Music Festival, Freaky Deaky, and over 1,000 club shows around the US.

The donation was made to non-profit organizations Vet Tix and 1st Tix. Vet Tix and 1st Tix (which is powered by Vet Tix) are national 501(c)(3) non-profit foundations supporting our military and first responder communities. These services provide free event tickets to first responders, currently serving military, veterans, and gold-star families to sporting events, concerts, performing arts, and family activities.

The donation is dedicated in memory of PFC Jason Hill Estopinal, Donnie’s younger cousin, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010 during his service in Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Our first responders and veterans are the ones who keep us safe and they’ve had a rough year. We wanted to show them some love, honor their work, and spark a little joy, by welcoming our heroes to our best festivals and club shows. We invite other promoters from all types of music to join us in this effort,” Disco Donnie said.

The $1,000,000 worth of tickets donation follows up on a $150,000 donation of 2021 Freaky Deaky Texas tickets, which just took place this past Halloween. In addition to ticket donations, Freaky Deaky has also made donations to local groups, including $10,000 to the Houston Food Bank and $10,000 to the Texas Association of First Responders. DDP also donated $25,000 to Americares for Hurricane Ida relief. In total, DDP has donated over $500,000 to local charities where the festivals are operated. DDP’s combined ticket and cash donations over the past eight years total over $1.5 million, reinforcing their commitment to giving back and supporting the communities that support them.

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