Summer may be nearing its end, but there is one more key EDM festival match up to be settled: this weekend's Hard Summer vs. Nocturnal Wonderland in September. Again we have two different festivals, with two different approaches to their combination of EDM gods and indie rock acts. So if we had to choose one, which would it be? As always, everything about these events has to be taken into consideration. Both festivals are two days and cost a pretty penny. Location is key as well as parking, headliners, styles of music, the crowd (who do you really want to party with?) and production value.
1. The Venue
Nocturnal Wonderland: The NOS Events Center isn't quite a far-away oasis, nor is it a gigantic warehouse, but it's the go to choice for a chunk of Insomniac's major events in Southern California. Many memories from massives past (i.e. almost all thebig Nocturnal events since the early '00s) are held dear here, but the place is starting to feel a little stale and we think it's definitely time to change of scenery.
Hard Summer: The Los Angeles Historic Park is in the heart of Downtown LA, which brings for an urban experience filled with sky scrapers in the distance (perfect for staring at when faded) and many historic landmarks and, of course, plenty of classy metropolitan folk.
Winner: Hard Summer
Nocturnal Wonderland: Insomniac works on a no headliner format because the fans are the biggest headliner, as CEO Pasquale Rotella preaches. With this company priority, Insomniac can keep it's origin intact without selling out with having names like Tiesto, Kaskade, Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia to sell tickets. After all, the true fan and lover of music knows how to have a good time regardless of who's on stage, as long as they're sound is worthy. Still, it's not like Nocturnal is without it's big guns (i.e. 12th Planet, Above & Beyond and John Digweed to name a few).
Hard Summer: HARD uses the traditional rock format that includes getting a bunch of huge ass acts including: Skrillex, Nero, Bloc Party and Boys Noize. With demi-god Skrillex at the helm, one can only anticipate thousands of half shaven heads paired with faux glasses. Hipster heaven will be presented in Downtown LA with live performances from Bloc Party, Mike Snow and Nero. This is gonna be an all out rage fest, but doubtful PLUR law will be enforced.
Winner: Nocturnal Wonderland
Nocturnal Wonderland: $20 with the added 2-hour traffic jam.
So you drove a minimum of an hour-and-a-half to dance your fluffies off, and now you have to pay $20 along with the painful hour to two-hour traffic jam after hearing your favorite DJs? The end result has always been one of the biggest party fouls by Insomniac.
Hard Summer: Free Metro park and ride.
On the flip-side, with every Hard Summer ticket purchased, you now can ride the Metro for free along with free parking -- does the phrase "Let's all get fucked up" sound appropriate now? With this option all you pre-ragers do not have to ask the dreaded question, "Who's the DD?" or try to track down a taxi. For the after partiers, you're late night buzz does not have to end with Skrillex's immaculate bass drop from "Levels." Keep it going till the sun comes up.
Winner: Hard Summer
No one has come close to competing with Insomniac's production value they continue to create event after event. Hundreds of full costumed dancers and performers with carnival rides cannot be matched. Sorry HARD, you don't have a goddamn chance in this category.
Winner: Nocturnal Wonderland hands down
5. The Music
Nocturnal Wonderland: Insomniac continues to pump out trance, house and electro with dubstep usually tucked away in the corner. The addition of tech house at EDC has stirred a new buzz around the west coast EDM world. Artists included at Nocturnal are tyDi, Benny Benassi, Danny Tenagila, Flinch, Axwell, Above and Beyond, Dash Berlin and Sebatian Ingrosso.
Hard Summer: When I hear the name HARD, dubstep, electro, deep house, moombathon, live rock bands and gritty turntablists come to mind. It's refreshing to hear different styles other than the usual ravey vocals and big room sounds. Most techno fans these days used to listen to rock bands, so having live bands perform is an added plus. At Hard Summer there will be a blend of different types of artists including: Bloody Beetroots, Mike Snow, Dillion Francis, A-Trak, AraabMUZIK, Magnetic Man, and Alvin Risk. For competition sake, having funk legend Bootsy Collins & the Funk Unity Band in the line up is the ultimate trump card in this category.
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Winner: Hard Summer
Our Winner is Hard Summer because of its tremendous amount of diversity ranging from different types of EDM and live bands, also the urban dance experience in Downtown LA with the added pre-party savior, the Metro
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