Friday night at the Los Angeles Historic Park, HARD Summer kicked-off it's fourth annual electronic dance music festival filled with banging DJ sets and some epic band gigs. The festival, now expanded to two days, celebrates some of the biggest names in dance music, dubstep and electro while glorifying the old-school house heads and giving 18-and-over kids something to look forward to. The main thing that made Friday night different from Saturday's is the anti-mainstream aspect which allows for some severe dance offs and good vibes all around. Here's a list of highlights from Day 1 of the fest.
1. The DJs
Though there were some big headliners such as Grammy-nominated A-Trak, Chromeo, Boys Noize and Miike Snow the biggest thing that made the music different at HARD Summer on Friday night is the non-mainstream shit we hear at every other festival. Artists like A-Trak kept the crowd going with some trap music (a bass-dropping style of southern rap he has been playing for over 10 years) mashed up with non-electronic bangers but hard hitting dance beats that made the ravers go wild. His remix of Martin Solveign's "Night Out" was very effective at magnetizing the crowd to his side of the festival at the Fool's Gold Stage. Likewise, headliner Boys Noize managed to bring in some very creative brush strokes to his set, combining tracks like Hard Rock Sofa's "Here We Go," with techno and house beats spliced together, creating a genre-defying onslaught of dance floor energy. Everyone was dancing well into the night even after his set came to an abrupt end (his time slot was 12:50am-1:50am, but he must have thought it was 2am as the music was cut off right in the middle of the last song). Most of the DJs stayed true to their styles and gave the crowd some non-mainstream HARD hitting house, techno, electro and dubstep.
2. The Crowd
The festival-goers ranged from 18-year-old ravers, to old school dance music lovers who wanted to see their favorite acts all night long. There were lots of positive PLUR vibes and it wasn't the usual shit show that EDM festivals usually garner these days. There was ample room to dance (dance circles where actually being formed from left to right) and those busting a move were happily accepting of new-comers into their crew. Sure it may have been a young crowd, but the vibes were so extremely positive that it was hard for us to even notice. Also, the amount of out of towners was surprisingly large, but it made for some awesome interactions and conversations with new people not in the typical LA or OC EDM scene.
3. The Venue
The Los Angeles Historic Park makes for a prefect spot to host a music festival with lots of room for a variety of stages to a beautiful backdrop of downtown Los Angeles. The little production value (ie. little pyrotechnics, theatrics or art installations) was actually refreshing as it gave it a real old school rave like feel. Not to mention the fact that an outdoor festival really channels a Woodstock-like atmosphere that's a lot more bearable than sweaty, indoor massives. It was pretty easy to travel from stage to stage to check out your favorite acts without making the long Coachella-like treck across the Empire Polo Club. The only suggestion we have is the Red Bull Discothèque Stage was too close to the Fool's Gold Clubhouse and the sound leaked in from one another. Not to mention the sound problems going on at most of the stages was kind of distracting as well.
4. The Live Acts
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Big ups to Gary Richards, the HARD brand CEO for bringing an eclectic taste of music to this years HARD Summer. The fact that there were enough live acts to arouse the hipster crowd and enough EDM acts to make it an electronic festival is genius. We genuinely enjoyed the break from the untz-untz to hear some live guitar riffs while enjoying the electronic delights. Bloc Party and Miike Snow made the Friday night experience at HARD Summer unique and we couldn't have been happier. Live acts add to the festival atmosphere and HARD Summer definitely packs the punch.
5. The Food Trucks
Bringing another cultural aspect to HARD was the relatively new addition of food trucks to the music scene which makes for tastier dance fuel from the usual sausages and dirty dogs home to LA. Mexican, Greek and Asian foods were only a sampling of the many selections festival-goers were able to choose from providing a wider range of tasty eats for the already eclectic HARD Summer crowd. The taco trucks were one of the personally taste tested highlights of the night and the food truck area was the perfect meeting spot to make memories with old and new friends!