Julio Mario Santo Domingo, a founding investor in the Florida festival, is teaming up with Pasquale Rotella for a reboot of Okeechobee
One of Florida’s most beloved festivals, the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, is making a comeback with the help of Insomniac, one of dance music’s most enduring festival companies.
The Live Nation-backed promoter is partnering with Okeechobee and Soundslinger co-founder Julio Mario Santo Domingo III, a billionaire of Columbian descent who performs as electronic artist Rechulski, to revive the multi-genre music and camping festival in Central Florida’s Sunshine Grove, scheduled for March 5-8, 2020.
Santo Domingo is one of the youngest people on Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans and is the heir to one of Columbia’s wealthiest families. A long time DJ, party organizer and promoter, Santa Domingo and his label and artist collective Sheik ‘N’ Beik have been a player in the New York dance scene for about a decade. Santa Domingo performed at the inaugural 2016 Okeechobee and organized the festival’s innovative Jungle 51 outdoor electronic music experience.
It was not widely know that Santa Domingo was also one of the intial investors in Okeechobee and Soundslinger and has worked with various production groups to stage the festival in 2016, 2017 and 2018 before taking a hiatus this year. Three of the festival’s co-founders amicably parted ways with Santa Domingo in 2016, citing philosophical differences.
In partnering with Insomniac, Santo Domingo is now in business with one of the most experienced festival promoters in the world, Pasquale Rotella, founder of Insomniac and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Mexico, Florida, China and Japan.
“I’m a big fan of what Rechulski and the Okeechobee team have built, and honored to be able to lead such a unique event and continue the journey,” Rotella said in a statement. “This is one of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever set foot in. As someone who tries to always put culture first, I recognize how passionate this extraordinary community is, and I’m excited to bring this festival back and make it better than ever.”
Santo Domingo, 33, bought into Soundslinger, the holding company for Okeechobee with several partner investors and three concert promoters. A year later he had a legal dispute with his former manager over the initial investment in Soundslinger — both sides agreed to a settlement in May 2019.
The Santo Domingo’s wealth began with his great grandfather Mario Santo Domingo, who made a fortune buying and reviving Depression-era businesses, while Santa Domingo’s grandfather owned a large stake in SABMiller, the merged South African company behind the Miller and Fosters beer that was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2016. Santo Domingo was briefly married to Argentinian journalist Nieves Zuberbühler and in recent year began recording and performing under the Rechulski moniker, releasing his first EP Ü in 2015.
“I’ve always DJed as Julio ever since I started,” Santo Domingo told Clubber.rs in 2015. “Rechulski is a little more mature and techno orientated,” he explained, later noting the moniker “was born for that colder more distant persona, not always on the front line but in the dark undercurrents of electronic music.”
In a press release announcing the return of Okeechobee in partnership with Insomniac, Santo Domingo said “It is an exceptional honor to have had the opportunity, luck, and responsibility of creating and caring for OMF. I would like to thank my partners and the rest of the Soundslinger staff, the County and people of Okeechobee for welcoming us with open arms, all of our vendors and contractors, and most importantly all of the incredibly dedicated and colorful Okeechobeeings, our loyal fans.”
Besides the return of the dusk-till-dawn dance party Jungle 51, organizers are planning to revive Aquachobee Beach, “where Sunshine Grove’s jungle meets the white sand beach, that will give Okeechobeeings the chance to catch daytime live music sets while swimming and sunbathing,” according to a release.
All tickets and camping passes go on sale beginning Aug. 23 at 10am ET. Learn more at okeechobeefest.com.