Electric Zoo, Electric Daisy Carnival NYC, Mad Decent Block Party in Philadelphia, and Ultra in Miami. These are the typical festivals for a east coast native like myself. But this year I felt adventurous/ I decided it was time to go a little further afield and see what Hard Summer had to offer. I packed my bags and made the 2,810 mile journey from New York to Los Angeles and headed straight to Whittier Narrows for some edm recreation.
As I walked from the cab through the the park, I realized this was no small festival. As I approached the stages, more people began to join me. By the time we reached the entrance there was thousands of people waiting to get in. Young and younger, fat and thin, well dressed, barely dressed, and everything in between – we were all there for the music.
Stages were organized simply – the Hard Stage, a Harder Stage, as well as Pink, Green and Purple Stages. The stages were spread out sufficiently to prevent sound pollution, and sprinkled in between them were carnival rides and food stands. I was impressed with the variety of food and drink – pizza to root beer floats at a festival? Hell yeah! There were also numerous water refill stations. I was also awed by the mist stations – they provided immediate (wet) relief from the swealting California sun and dust. This was almost, but not quite, my favorite thing about the festival. I was a huge fan of the 21+ area near the Hard state – a bar like area with high top tables that were open to anyone 21 and over. This was my personal favorite vantage point during the Jack U set.
In the last few years I have seen close to 200 live acts and DJ sets. That being said, I go into every festival interested to see one thing: if the artist can top their previous appearances. I was not disappointed. Hard Summer was nothing but mind-numbing sets from all who took the stage.
The wild card of the day hands down was Wax Motif. For those who didn't get to attend, it is worth mentioning that Tommy Trash's plane was delayed, but Wax Motif stepped in to save the day. I personally had never seen Wax Motif and considering he was filling in for Tommy Trash, I had high expectations. Despite my initial doubts, two songs in and my mind was at ease. It was like a roller coaster ride from one drop to the next. This performance solidified Wax Motif as a heavy hitter in my mind.
Later in the day, Baauer played on the Harder Stage to a massive crowd and showed just how diverse he can be, playing everything from dubstep to trap. I hadn't planned to stay the whole set but once he started, I simply could not tear myself away. Not even for the smell of freshly baked bread and pepperoni, which seemed to follow me wherever I went. After Baauer, DJ Snake followed up with a hard hitting set that made the crowd absolutely wild.
At the end of the night, Jack U took to a insanely crowded stage in the rain. Gotta admit, I felt a bit sorry for them, and I basically had the set written off. However – I underestimated Jack U. Not even ten minutes later, the crowd was going insane and I doubt anyone noticed it was raining. Dazzling lights, lasers, and pyrotechnics mixed with rain made the entire stage and crowd glimmer as if it were full of stars. Of course this meant all my photos ended up looking like hell, so you can't truly appreciate how fantastic it looked. They made sure to let everyone know how much they appreciated the love and commitment. With an equal mix of songs from both Skrillex's new album and Diplo's. It was fun to see them vibe so well together as artists on stage. They dropped a few new tracks, one highlight being an insanely creative remix of the one and only “lion king song.”
Although the event was overall a huge success there is one set that soared above all the others in my opinion. Anyone who was in the crowd during this set can attest to this, and that set would be none other than Flosstradamus. I have been following these guys for a few years now. From college venues, to Mad Decent Block Parties, to Vegas pool parties, and finally to Hard Summer. Out of all the times I have seen them this was by far their best work yet. They turned a festival crowd into one of the biggest house party vibes I have ever experienced. HDYNation was out in full force and it was not difficult to see just how large their fan base has become. Floss kept the party going one hit after another. They even dropped a few new tracks on the crowd, along with throwing in some of their classics. The craziest moment of their set was when they dropped “Mosh Pit.” If you can't figure it out from the name, this is a moment to be prepared for, or rapidly move to the back of the crowd. At the start of the track, Josh came on the Mic and said something to the effects of “LA we are going to create the craziest, biggest pit, right now at hard summer,” and he was true to his word. The following five minutes was a sea of madness. The entire cloud became a dust storm, people moshing, jumping up and down, and partying as hard as they could. When the set was over I did not see one person without a smile. The crowd was helping each other up and high-fiving and smiling like I have never seen.
To conclude, Hard Summer was absolutely an amazing experience which I look forward to being able to experience again next year. While I have no doubt that next year will be fantastic as well, I just can't wait to see what they have in store. All in all Hard Summer was a huge success. If you haven't been able to attend yet, I highly recommend you put it on your to do list next year!