Industry Weekly

Dance music gatherings like the 10th-annual Hard Summer festival remain hot

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The 10th anniversary edition of Hard Summer is coming in August.
Oh Dag Yo Photography

It’s time once again for Electric Daisy Carnival to take over Las Vegas the way few events can. EDC has bloomed into one of the most successful, best-known dance music festivals in the world, emblematic of the growth and potential in its realm. More festival events arrive each year, while a few long-running fests continue to distinguish themselves.

Promoter, DJ and music executive Gary Richards—who produced the first two versions of EDC in the early ’90s before Insomniac began running the brand—is preparing the 10th-annual edition of the Hard Summer Music Festival for August 5 and 6 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The lineup includes DJ Snake, Justice, Snoop Dogg, Dog Blood, Bassnectar and Migos.

Richards, who will also spin as Destructo, says the diverse musicality of the Hard fest has always been its strength. “The first Hard Summer had N.E.R.D. and MSTRKRFT, so it’s the same scene—some hip-hop, a lot of electro and techno—but it’s just grown by leaps and bounds,” he says. “My curation is the same as it was 10 years ago; it’s just a bigger scene now. Back then no one was booking any of the stuff. People didn’t know who Diplo or Skrillex or even Steve Aoki was, and now everyone has done really well, and now here we are. We have six stages instead of two. We have 100,000 people instead of 5,000. But the core of it is still awesome music fit for a rager.”

Staying true to the music and taking a no-frills approach has established Hard as something of a “working man’s festival,” Richards says. Like EDC, it has branched out with others events in Australia, on a cruise ship (Holy Ship!) and at Red Rocks in Colorado (on July 28).

Not all new festival events will work out, but the audience will make that decision. “Like with anything else, the cream always rises to the top,” Richards says. “If it’s not legitimately authentic, if it doesn’t stand for something, it eventually goes bye-bye. It’s the same with music. Good music always lasts.”

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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