This two-day event was brimming with talented acts, showcasing over 40 artists at 5 different stages. HARD represents itself as an actual music festival and this year many different genres were showcases on both days.
Many Surprise guest showed up in support of the festival and the artist, Skrillex at Slushii’s set in the Green Tent on Saturday, was even a surprise to Slushii himself! Festival goers went wild to see the legend on stage. Slushii’s debut went off with a bang.
On Saturday night, Ice Cube brought a massive crowd to accompany his heavy-hitter songs. We watched from afar because the crowd was overflowing into the other stage areas. It was funny (and nice) to see a police officer rapping along to one of Ice Cube’s songs, (but it was not F*** the Police, thankfully and tastefully).
On Sunday, Zeds Dead’s performance on the main stage (HARD) was wild. They changed their tune a little to accommodate the large crowd who may not be familiar with all of their songs, but overall it still sounded like a Zeds Dead set. They brought out guests, played classic EDM bangers, and had lots of red confetti.
We like to dub Dillon Francis (Sunday) as the prince of Hard Summer, (obviously Destructo is the king). Dillon was popularized from making multiple appearances/playing killer sets throughout the years at Hard Summer. This year was no different. He played mombaton, trap, house, he catered to everyone but still had his distinctive style.
Yes, I will get to the not so good parts, I know everyone is talking about them.
First, rest in peace to the three young adults who lost their lives. However, I saw firsthand the active steps HARD took to prevent this type of tragedy. There were MULTIPLE cool down stations, with plenty of room (shaded areas and with misting-systems and fans); there were MULTIPLE free water stations, most of the time they did not have a 1 minute wait if you went during a set instead of at the “intermission;” there were swimming pools and water features to help keep cool too; there were MULPTILE medical tents with no waits and informed staff to assist attendees; and this time, HARD added a ground control group, the “Get Up and Dance Team” to help out festival goers who looked like they needed help. I witnessed a few different crew members pass out free water, ear plugs, band aids, (actively going up to people, not vice versa) within my first hour at the festival. BRAVO. If you or your friend get overheated, consume too much of some substance (alcohol, drugs, etc.), or just don’t feel well, DO SOMETHING. The staff is here to help; they are more focused on saving lives, not getting you in trouble. We need to come together to put an end to this, it is unnecessary, heartbreaking, and 100% preventable, but it is on you to speak up and take action if need be. Sometimes you get caught up in the music, the moment, whatever, but don’t forget the basic necessities to live…
Second, the venue was large, but it was very confusing at first to find everything, (the Green Tent, the lockers, shuttle stops…) The signage was confusing too, you would walk through the side tunnel and two signs contradicted each other, “Welcome to HARD” and “Thank you for coming” for example. When asking staff/security where things were, directions were unclear. Also, going from below the stands out onto the race track was ATROCIOUS and DANGEROUS (fire hazard, tripping hazard). Eventually the security designated certain openings for entering and exiting the race track, but maybe more signage could have helped and let people know there was a side tunnel…
Third, UBER. What a horrible logistical set up. There were about 100 cars waiting in the lot for people, but no one could connect to get to them. Uber seems obsolete now, you should be able to use it like a regular taxi, get in and pay. Make it like Snapchat, where drivers and passengers have their own QR code that can be scanned and linked to the Uber accounts (credit cards, personal information, where you want to go, the same usual info). Supposedly they weren’t letting Lyft drivers in the Uber lot either. Saturday night was hit or miss, for us it was a miss. Uber drivers were telling us they would take us for cash for $150 dollars (we needed to go 15 minutes away). Eventually we walked out of the speedway and grabbed a Lyft for $18, thank you for not ripping us off like the Uber drivers. On our way out, we saw more Uber drivers waiting for the surge to increase even higher, but then the server went down and they couldn’t even connect. Greed is rewarded accordingly. It just sucks when you have to leave 2 hours early on Sunday to make sure the servers aren’t shut down so you can get a ride without walking an additional 2.5 miles on an unsafe road to get a ride. Maybe HARD can have a shuttle out of the event to another location nearby for more people to grab a Lyft, Uber, Taxi, or be picked up by someone else. I wouldn’t mind paying a few bucks extra for something like that, if it means less of a chance for a server crash. And obviously, don’t drink and drive.
And if you read through this whole thing, here is my last little qualm. It was interesting to see and hear so many artists get political. Usually you don’t hear that, but to each their own; they have the stage time and if it’s not in the performance contract, the freedom to say so. Personally, I am not there to discuss politics, and if you support the opposite party it may have made you think differently about an artist now… but America is awesome in that regard, freedom of speech for all and freedom to not buy their music now.