HARD Summer 2022 has come and gone, in the blink of an eye. This was my second HARD, and compared to last year, Insomniac made sure to bring the HEAT. Coming in strong with a lineup that had me begging all of my friends to buy a ticket, as usual it did not disappoint. An additional day was added, which made space for more upgrades and transformations throughout the fest. The stage fixtures were larger, the lights were brighter, the speakers were clearer, and the event as a whole received a huge GLOW-UP.
Now let’s get into the specifics!
The festival is held in San Bernardino, CA at the NOS Events Center. This venue has a great amount of space, allowing for VIP sections at each stage, five large-scale stages, a Ferris wheel, a small lake, plenty of food and water scattered throughout, and numerous art fixtures for photo-ops with your rave fam.
This venue during this time of year, as one can imagine, is freaking HOT. Thankfully, Insomniac made the decision to start a little later each day. Friday and Saturday started at 4 PM, while Sunday started at 3 PM. This allowed for less direct sun exposure each day. Changing the start time is such a minute detail that every attendee truly appreciated (don’t worry, I asked around and everyone agreed).
Ensuring ravers don’t overheat, Insomniac included many shaded sitting areas around the festival, coupled with misters that remained on during the duration of the three-day weekend. One could also be found getting shade at the PINK tent, which was completely covered.
Insomniac also hired workers to mist the crowd with what looked like water guns, at the rails of stages. I arrived early each day and noticed the die-hard fans in the blazing sun getting misted as they supported their favorite artists.
Everywhere you looked, there were workers dispersed around the festival. Whether you needed help locating a stage, water station, the restrooms, or had a friend in need, they were available at your service. There were even workers stationed near the larger art fixtures to help with picture-taking. They kept the space clear and even took group pictures for those that needed it. Nothing is more annoying than trying to get a sweet picture for memories and there are a ton of random photobombs that you didn’t expect!
The main stages at HARD are the HARD stage, the HARDER stage, the PINK tent, the GREEN stage, and the PURPLE stage. Last year, the GREEN stage was my favorite because of the sound and production. However this year, the HARD stage takes the cake for me.
The HARD stage was HUGE and the visuals presented there were phenomenal. My favorite sets to watch at this stage were GRiZ and Jai Wolf. The visuals were so clear and there was an abundance of fire cannons and fireworks each night.
Another favorite to note was the bleacher access at the GREEN stage. If you didn’t feel like being stuck in the crowd, you could watch a set at this stage from the bleachers. You get a full view of the stage and a spot to rest your body while you vibe.
Now, let’s talk about VIP.
GA is great because you’re with the crowd, you can feel the energy of everyone around you, and you can catch sets at the rail if you manage your time correctly. However, we seasoned vets have had our fair share of GA experience, and if this isn’t your first rodeo, I absolutely recommend securing a VIP ticket to your next Insomniac festival.
Insomniac pampers its VIP attendees with boundless perks you won’t want to miss. There are separate VIP sections at each stage where you can find air-conditioned restrooms, easily accessible water stations, food, and drinks.
At the HARD stage VIP section, there was a pool and an outdoor lounge called SkyDeck. With plenty of sitting and dancing areas, ravers were able to enjoy their time without the hassle of crowded sweaty bodies everywhere.
Access to bathrooms and water is not a mission in VIP, just a short walk and you’re back with your crew. At the HARDER stage VIP section, there was a Beauty Bar available for VIP wristband holders. You can get your hair and makeup done here – forget about doing it at home and sweating it out on the way to the fest, just get it done there!
Merch and Food
My only critique of HARD Summer would be the absence of vendors. This could be due to space at the venue, which is understandable. Instead of independent vendors, they had HARD Summer merch tents and an Insomniac merch tent.
The Insomniac merch tent was my favorite. They had a live DJ spinning while you looked around, fixtures for photo opportunities, and the funkiest, wackiest, and most colorful Insomniac merch I had ever seen.
Check out my Day 1 recap of the festival here.
As far as food, there were so many unique options. Chicken tenders, burgers, Korean food, tacos, Hibachi, hot dogs, Aguas Frescas, and vegan options! Insomniac did not forget about the plant-based baddies, and we salute you for that.
Overall, HARD was an amazing experience this year. The extra time and consideration that was put into the festival was evident. They made more use of the space to ensure a pleasant experience for ravers by including ample sitting areas, abundant access to hydration and food, and pristine production across the board.
Check out my Day 2 and Day 3 recap here.
The VIP section is worth every penny at an Insomniac event, especially HARD Summer. The access to air-conditioning throughout the day is ESSENTIAL. Pasquale and his crew does it again, blessing ravers with an unforgettable time at HARD Summer 2022.
Thank you, Insomniac. See you again next year!