Over the years HARD Summer has evolved from a festival catering to electronic dance music to breaking barriers with the inclusion of hip-hop and vocalists. This year HARD took the party to Glen Helen Amphitheater situated up in the hills of San Bernadino between August 5 & 6.
Right before the weekend commenced, founder Gary Richards, also known as Destructo, announced his departure with HARD events and will now be taking on new projects. As for HARD, Live Nation will now be running the event, that appeared to host around 50,000 people over the weekend making it one of the event’s biggest crowds.
Although a last minute venue change threw a curve in planning, the amphitheater allowed for more space and a lot less distance between stages, with carefully placed stages that kept sound bleed in mind. HARD managed to pull off the festival in a more compact layout this year rather than having people circulate around an entire motor speedway getting from stage to stage.
The festival hosted their usual music stages, including HARD, HARDer, Purple, Pink and Green, with the addition of the Corona Beach Stage keeping the HARD Summer vibes rollin’ with a house music line-up.
If you were one of the unlucky travelers who entered or left the festival at peak times, your patience was definitely tested this weekend. However, once you entered the festival grounds on Saturday it was well worth the wait. Overall, HARD is always a great event with a well-rounded line-up.
Destructo performed a very heartfelt performance in honor of 10 years of hosting HARD festival. You can view the video below and keep on reading for more on our favorite sets from the weekend.
Upon entering the festival early evening on Saturday, I headed to the main stage to check out Malaa for a “bangin'” house set. Immediately after, French dark house producer, Tchami played keeping the house vibes alive on the main stage. Tchami is due to due to release a new EP coming out August 25. Meanwhile on the HARDer stage across the festival, A-Trak was throwing down and showing off his mixing skills on the decks (as per usual).
Once the sun set, I headed back to the main stage for Rae Sremmurd’s performance. Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy turned up opening with their latest single “Perplexing Pegasus” and other hits like “No Flex Zone,” “No Type,” and “This Could Be Us.”
Anna Lunoe closed out the pink stage while 7 months pregnant making it her last show of 2017. Meanwhile, Justice played a DJ set at the HARDer stage, while DJ Snake brought the heat at the HARD main stage.
On day 2 of HARD Fest, Snakehips brought out Tinashe (who also performed at HARD right before at the Purple stage) to perform their song together on the HARDer Stage. After that, the tempo of the day immediately picked up. Mike Will Made It made his first festival appearance on the Purple stage playing a trap leaning DJ set.
As the night was coming to a close, many people began migrating to the main stage for Dog Blood’s only set of 2017. Dog Blood, also known as, Skrillex b2b Boys Noize is an energetic punch that will have you non-stop dancing.
For those that preferred a high energy hip-hop performance, the HARDer stage welcomed Migos to shut it down. The rap group consists of Quavo, Offset and Takeoff. They played mostly songs off their second album Culture featuring hits “Bad and Boujee,” “Slippery,” and “Kelly Price.”
Closing out the main stage, Snoop Dogg performed his monumental album, Doggystyle. The album debuted in 1993, but felt so timeless in 2017. His performance opened up with a skit from his album to set up his grand entrance while, of course, smoking a blunt, playing his entire album from front to back.
Photos by Victoria Kobayashi.