To the casual observer, HARD Summer might look like just another in a sea of raves that have all but taken over a sizable portion of youth culture in recent years.
Upon closer inspection, however, HARD events sit left of center from your garden variety EDM festival. They’re edgier, grittier affairs that what’s presented at most rave-type events, pushing the ethos of PLUR to an extreme — PLURNT, according to the t-shirt of one attendee who seemed to be taking the sentiment well to heart.
Promoter Gary Richards (AKA DJ Destructo) and the HARD team have constructed their parties to encompass more than just the latest EDM buzz acts, although a few of them are thrown into the mix for good measure. Their events — which now span a wealth of parties around the country, including the upcoming Holy Ship! cruises over two weekends early next year — have always showcased a wide variety of sounds, especially hip-hop and emerging artists on the verge of breaking out.
The seventh annual HARD Summer weekend was held in a new location, the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, as opposed the usual set up at the Los Angeles Historic State Park. The change of locale didn’t faze this year’s event, which rolled out an impressive mix of music spread out over two stages and three tents to create a memorable and enlightening weekend.
Jack U is more than the sum of its parts
Jack U, the anonymous moniker for the high-powered collaboration between Diplo and Skrillex, might still be a relatively new endeavor, but the duo is quickly developed a unique sound to call their own. While the notoriety of two of EDM’s biggest names sharing the same stage, between Skrillex’s hyper energy and Diplo’s cool reserve, Jack U’s unified sound is super-fun party music with more substance than standard big-room bangers. They played a wealth of new music, including the recently revealed “Take You There,” featuring vocalist Kiesza.