Capitalizing on a successful New Year’s Eve bash, a show promoter is planning to bring an even bigger electronic dance music festival to Atlantic City for the Fourth of July weekend.
Josh Heffler, chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based LineRocket Entertainment, said he wants to stage a multiday event that would attract an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 music fans to Bader Field.
“We’re definitely planning on doing something for the weekend of July 4th, including a fireworks show for the city,” Heffler said in an interview Saturday. “We want to expand immensely on what we did on New Year’s Eve.”
Heffler stressed that he has had only preliminary talks with city officials at this point about reserving Bader Field for July 4-6. He also spoke of the possibility of staging an electronic dance music festival during the Memorial Day weekend, although he noted that plans for that event are less certain.
City officials, including Mayor Lorenzo Langford and City Council President William Marsh, could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday. Langford showed his support for the New Year’s Eve show by making an appearance, Heffler said.
Heffler’s company co-produced the sold-out New Year’s Eve “Life in Color” dance party, which drew 6,800 people to Bader Field. The show took place inside a gigantic, heated tent and featured electronic dance music DJs Steve Aoki, Tommy Trash and Adventure Club.
Heffler said he may bring back the same DJs for the July festival, but is also considering blending live bands with the electronic music acts to appeal to a more diverse crowd — ages 18 to 60. Overall, he estimated the festival would attract 20,000 to 30,000 people.
“That’s really the ultimate goal for us to mix it,” he said. “I think you can mix electronics with classic rock and possibly hip-hop.”
Another component would be live web streaming to allow millions more music fans across the globe to watch the event, ensuring great exposure for Atlantic City’s entertainment scene, he said. There was also live streaming during the New Year’s Eve show.
“We can also include social media to integrate into Facebook or Twitter pages,” Heffler said.
No acts have been signed yet. The possibility of incorporating live bands into the show would build on the momentum of Atlantic City’s rock concerts at Bader Field the past two years. The Dave Matthews Band, Phish and Metallica were some of the top names who put on shows.
Electronic dance music, hugely popular in Europe, has begun sweeping the United States, particularly with the college crowd. That is a key demographic that Heffler is aiming for at Bader Field this summer.
“One of the music festival’s goals is to bring in as many people as possible and contribute the biggest economic benefit to the city,” Heffler said.
Heffler, 27, who grew up in Philadelphia and has a house in Longport, said he has always been attracted to Atlantic City’s beaches, casinos and nightspots. The heavy turnout at the New Year’s Eve party reinforced his belief that Atlantic City remains an entertainment haven, even in winter.
“Bader Field was viewed as a summer event venue only. But I had a breakthrough. A light bulb went off for heated tents. So we put in heated tents and it gave us the ability to do things outside, even during winter,” Heffler said.
In addition to staging large festivals at Bader Field, Heffler’s company is also planning to promote an exclusive electronic dance music show this April at the Chelsea, an upscale noncasino hotel overlooking the Boardwalk. The Chelsea show, using the hotel’s rooftop pool as a backdrop, will feature celebrity appearances and live web streaming, Heffler said.
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