Arts & Life

HARD Summer electronic music festival heats up Los Angeles

Electronic music fans flocked to the Los Angeles State Historic Park last weekend for the HARD Summer music festival. The two-day event walked the line between a full-on rave and traditional outdoor music festival with its somewhat eclectic variety of performers.
The mainstream DJs and headliners, including Skrillex, Bloc Party, Nero and Boys Noize, performed at the HARD stage, located in the center of the park.
A HARDer stage was for the fans of heavy dubstep like Fake Blood and Datsik. The mood of the crowd at this stage was much more intense and sweaty, and the dance moves almost got violent when people started really feeling the music.
At the Discoteque tent, you could find some of the more interesting sets of the night. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem made an appearance on Saturday night, and played from vinyl records instead of the traditional Macbook Pro.
The alcohol situation for the crowd, 21 and up, was an absolute disaster, as expected when dealing with a crowd of this magnitude. Guests could purchase one warm, flat Budweiser at a time for around $9. Smaller cups were available for a lower price but were about the size of a thimble.
Wine was also available for an equally astronomical price, but they ran out almost immediately. To make matters worse, all the beer and wine drinkers were corralled into a “beer garden” area just small enough so patrons were claustrophobically packed inside at all times. This whole ordeal was unfortunate, because most of the music featured at the event would be drastically improved with a slight buzz.
Various food trucks and tents provided food, and they were able to keep up with the demand fairly well. One thing difficult to find was water, which all of the food distributors ran out of quickly. Hydration centers were scattered around the park, but they were few and far-between.
Friday night had a slightly smaller crowd because many of the more hardcore electronic music fans bought single day tickets for the second day. They missed out on great performances from rock bands Miike Snow and Bloc Party. Watching people play actual physical instruments was a nice break after an entire night of DJs spinning dubstep and house music from behind tables and Macbooks.
“I know we’re not some banging techno, but there’s a time and a place for everything!” said Bloc Party lead singer Kele Okereke in his thick English accent. Bloc Party played a set that strayed away from their alternative dance music style and returned to their rock roots.
On Saturday night, the crowds got absolutely massive as Nero and Skrillex took the stage. After performing their massive hit “Promises,” Nero’s sound equipment malfunctioned and the sound started cutting out at random. At first it seemed intentional, but after a while it became clear that something had gone horribly wrong. The crowd eventually dispersed, disappointed.
The energy hit an all-time high when Skrillex, one of the most paid DJs in the industry and one of the more mainstream dubstep artists, took the stage. The production value on Skrillex’s set, in comparison to other artists, was drastically high. He emerged from a Star Wars inspired mothership that became his DJ booth. Pyrotechnics and smoke billowed from the stage as insane visuals played on the huge screens behind him. The screens played everything from psychedelic colors to clips from anime films and even footage of someone playing Call of Duty. On a purely spectacle level, the show was jaw-dropping.
Violent videogames and cartoons are appropriate visuals for Skrillex’s music. Both Skrillex and videogames are things that parents don’t understand and may even fear. People felt the same way years ago when rock and roll bands were accused of warping people’s minds, but now that seems ridiculous to consider. Only time will tell if dubstep music will be a passing fad or will cement itself as a music genre for years to come. If HARD Summer is any indication, the genre has plenty of fans, and they’re not going anywhere.

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