Green Day casts a spell over Voodoo Fest past
Reprinted from: Keith Spera, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Stephen Rehage has allegedly sold the festival he launched in City Park back in 1999. The festival, formally known as the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, was reportedly purchased by media mogul Robert F. X. Sillerman’s reborn SFX Entertainment.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Rehage declined to comment on any aspect of the Billboard article. He would neither confirm nor deny that Voodoo has been, or will be, sold.
Sillerman remade the American concert industry by buying up independent, regional concert promoters and consolidating them under his SFX Entertainment umbrella. In 2000, he sold SFX to Clear Channel Communications for a reported $4.4 billion; Clear Channel’s concert division morphed in Live Nation, which merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to form Live Nation Entertainment.
According to various media reports, Sillerman is pursuing a similar strategy as he did in the 1990s, but focusing on electronic dance music, or EDM. The New York Times reported last summer that his first acquisition was the Louisiana-based Disco Donnie Presents, founded by Donnie Estopinal. Estopinal cut his teeth promoting raves at the State Palace Theater and other New Orleans venues in the 1990s, and has gone on to promote EDM events throughout the country.
With Voodoo, Sillerman would add a second Louisiana property to his portfolio. The Voodoo Fest, which featured Metallica, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, and Jack White as its 2012 headliners, also includes an EDM stage. Skrillex, among the country’s most popular EDM deejays, appeared at the 2012 Voodoo.
Speaking of his recent acquisitions, Sillerman told Billboard, "They're not specifically EDM, but they're great festivals. Voodoo has been operated on as a sole practitioner on relatively small level, and we think it has upside not just in New Orleans but elsewhere. It's a fabulous name, amongst other things, so we think we'll be able to help Steve [Rehage], the owner and operator, take that to other markets."
Sillerman told the New York Times that his intention was to continue to allow the founders of the festivals he acquires to run those events as they see fit.
Rehage, a New Orleans native and special events producer, launched Voodoo in 1999. The festival has been staged at various locations inside the park every fall except 2005 when, two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated City Park, a scaled-down Voodoo was moved to Riverview Park between the Mississippi River and the Audubon Zoo.
The 2013 Voodoo, scheduled for Nov. 1-3, is slated to be the first in City Park’s newly completed permanent festival grounds on the park’s eastern side just south of Interstate 610. No artists for 2013 have been revealed yet, but the deadline for purchasing early-bird ticket packages is Thursday, Feb. 14. Tickets are available through the festival's web site.