Rocco Gardner is a British-born entrepreneur and musician based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is the owner of the experiential brand Escape and a production company, Escape Productions LLC in New York City.
Rocco Gardner was born Roland Gardner on 21 June 1979 in London to British entrepreneur Alison Gardner. He is the godson of the late Jaime Ortiz-Patino, owner of Valderrama Golf Club and former Chairman of the World Bridge Association. Gardner is linked to the Branson Family via Sir Richard Branson's former Executive Personal Assistant Penni Pike.
Gardner attended Summer Fields School and Radley College in Oxford before earning a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Bristol in 2003. During college, he served as an intern at IMG.
Early business career
In 1997, Gardner worked the Ryder Cup as Assistant to the President of the Club. In 2001, Gardner launched Studentism.com, an early social media network connecting students.
In 2004, he founded Sidewalk 7 Limited in the United Kingdom. Initially founded as a company to act as the vehicle for Gardner's projects and creative ventures, it expanded to a business including a record label, an artist management company and event production agency. Sidewalk 7 Limited released over thirty titles internationally from acts including Winter Roberts, This is Radio Freedom, Jim Kroft, Al Catraz, Billy Vincent and The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment. The company successfully managed campaigns on behalf of artists and garnered radio play on the BBC, television coverage on MTV and widespread college recognition in the United States. The company also booked talent as a specialist for the Spanish Government via UK artist agencies including CAA, WME, XRAY and ITB. Sidewalk 7 Limited's artist bookings included the Chemical Brothers, Madonna, and The Rolling Stones.
In 2009, Gardner founded his newest company, Escape Productions LLC, giving birth to the brand Escape. Escape Productions now serves as Gardner's production company. Gardner serves as CEO and Creative Director, Head of Strategic Business Development, and Manager of Tribal Relations.
- Escape to New York, in collaboration with the UK's Secret Garden Party, on the Shinnecock Reservation (August 2011) with Patti Smith, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros headlining.
- Escape LA in Palm Springs (April 2012) with Thom Yorke DJing.
- Escape to Montauk in Montauk, New York (August 2012) with Albert Hammond JR DJing.
Escape for Good
In 2012, Gardner created the Escape for Good series in partnership with New York marketing firm Sunshine Sachs. It is a charity race over 36 hours where contestants travel with no money in support of their favourite cause.
Escape headquarters is Rancho V near Palm Springs, a private 40-acre ranch in the high desert of Pioneertown, California near the renowned music venue Pappy and Harriet’s and 15 miles from Joshua Tree National Park. It functions as a retreat for musicians, photographers, artists and others which serves as a respite from modern living. It houses a state-of-the-art music recording studio and provides a desert landscape for photos shoots. Rancho V has been visited by major label artists The Pierces, Vogue Italia, Eagles of Death Metal, Peaches, and author Neil Strauss.
Career as a musician
- Chillher (1998–2004) Keyboards. In band with UK recording artist Ben Montague. First record was recorded at Freddie Mercury and Roger Taylor's studio The Mill (home of Queen). Then recorded with Mike Rutherford (Genesis) in Sussex. Opened for Ringo Starr in 2003.
- The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment (2009–2012) Solo Project. Appeared on own record as The Blue Eyed Shark Experiment, released via Universal and Sidewalk 7 Ltd. The music video for Shark's first single "JetPlane" shot with Spun movie writer Creighton Vero in Sunland, California. It was executive produced by Gardner.
- Your New Crush (2013). Recording with Kelly Halloran and David Catching (Eagles of Death Metal, Earthlings?) and produced by Mathias Schneeberger.
- Winter Roberts – Winter Roberts
- This is Radio Freedom
- Jim Kroft
- Al Catraz