Date: August 3rd-4th
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Size: 8,000 first day, 12,000 second day (my estimate)
Price: $129 + fees.
Years Running: 3
Crowd: The crowd for Hard Summer was pretty much what you could expect for an electronic based festival in Los Angeles… young raver kids….. but they were really cool young raver kids. Everyone got along well and took care of themselves. People were courteous when moving through the masses and I have to say that overall the crowd exceeded my expectations.
Music: The DJs and bands seemed to be excited to be at Hard and it showed in their performances. I saw great acts at every stage with the weekend highlights including the Blood Beat Roots (DJ Set), Nero, Bloc Party, Break Bot, Claud VonStoke, James Murphy, Zedd, and Skrillex (below).
Chapter 1: Security.
The security at this festival was an absolute joke. To enter the festival you had to walk past Police officers with drug smelling dogs. Then you had to wait in line for over an hour because their security checks were so intense. They even made you take your shoes off. Once you finally made it into the festival you had to get your ID checked to get a bracelet to get into the beer garden. On your way into the garden two separate people would check your wristband to make sure it was not tampered with. Their security guards would still come up and ask to check your ID even though you were already in the beer garden. No other festival is half this extreme.
Chapter 2: Everything else.
If you could get past how awful the security was Hard did a great job. There were plenty of bathrooms, there was room to get around, and the sets were consistently on time.
Stages: The stages at Hard Summer were really impressive for a smaller festival. They were all lit up and even the tents had LEDs that ran all around you. The sound was good minus a couple hiccups like with Nero’s set.
Food: The food at Hard was great. They brought in food trucks and local vendors and let them have at it. There was a great variety to choose from. The biggest highlight was the fact that they had people walking through the crowd selling ice cold waters and lemonades. Good idea! One downside is they let their vendors charge tax…. at a music festival…. so dumb.
What makes this festival special? This festival has a great lineup and you don’t have to miss work because it runs from 5pm-2am on Friday and Saturday night. They also made it easy to get to by getting the subway to stay open (Your ticket even worked at your subway pass). There is nothing really special about Hard but it is a lot of fun.
What could be improved? Fix the security. I am not the only one that felt this way. EVERYONE DID. If you have to be so up tight with everything move the venue. Adding some art installations would have gone a long way as well.
Overall Rating: 2.5 stars. It’s a music festival. It’s fun. If you like to dance and live within an hours drive of LA you should make the trip. Just be ready to deal with the security non sense.