Last weekend I had the pleasure of representing Mic Drop Music at Hard Summer Music Festival. I drove down to the desert of San Bernardino and the line up, crowd, and ambiance definitely brought the heat. After waiting two long years, fans have finally been able to experience this California summer staple.
Day one was met with loads of excitement on my end. This was my first festival doing press since pre-covid, and I was more than ready to put on my critic hat. There have been quite a few changes since the last Hard Summer (2019). When I attended two years ago, the event was hosted at the Fontana Speedway. My memories of the Fontana venue were dirt and heat, (and good times, of course). I also recall the layout of the stages being simple and accessible, but nothing extravagant. Boy, how times have changed!
This years Hard Summer was a full on production, and you could see those signature Insomniac details at every turn. The Nos Events Center offered loads more space than the previous venue, and each inch was used to the fullest. The line moved easy, breezy and we were in the gates with no issues. As soon as I walked in I was shocked. There were elements of familiarity, such as the giant HARD sign. But so many new fun additions, like a giant flamingo floating in the lake- how cute! I was further blown away by the number of stages. Six?! WHAT! But the more stages, the more music!
Something I’ve always enjoyed about Hard Summer is the diversity on the line up. Some of my stand out sets from Day 1 range from Charles the 1st to Kaytranada. There truly is something for everyone! The line up (including headliners) made sure to feature plenty of female talent, which did not go unnoticed. One of my personal favorite women from day 1 is Anabel Englund, who I had the pleasure of interviewing on site. You can read our chat here!
THE PRESS EXPERIENCE
As someone trying to coordinate interviews with talent on site, it can usually be somewhat of a hassle. I have to give Hard Summer a special shout out for making the media experience such a breeze. The press lounge was gorgeously decorated, with hardly any sound break through, and wait for it… AIR CONDITIONING. Thank you for providing a stylish, functional, and accessible place to conduct interviews with talent. Oh, and snacks! My weekend was seriously powered by cheetos and Red Bull.
Which leads us right into Day 2! I kicked off Sunday with an interview with Dack Janiels, another star from this killer line up. He brought amazing energy to our sit down which I carried with me as I ventured off to the stages. Believe it or not, my favorite act this day may have been 2 Chainz. You really don’t realize how many hits he has until you see him live. He had the crowd going absolutely crazy to some of the biggest rap songs of our time. A quick vibe change as we danced over to house legend Lee Foss, who performed at the Pink Stage. The Pink Stage was so well done as it provided both an immersive experience and shade. Well done, guys. Well done.
It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge all of the attention to detail at this year’s Hard Fest. I really appreciated the FREE PARKING. This is something I think all festivals should adopt, but most do not. For those who don’t drive, The Nos Event Center is conveniently located right next to a train stop. Insomniac truly thought of everything and partnered with Metro link, offering $10 round trip train passes to get to and from Hard Summer. I truly applaud their efforts with this. Not only does this encourage public transport which is great for the environment, but it is an affordable option and assures patrons will get home safe.
My only critique of the whole weekend would be the distance of the parking lots from the stages. I left slightly early on Sunday to beat the traffic and it took me an hour to walk from the Harder stage to my car. After walking 40,000 steps in two days- it made the trek seem extra long. But hey, knowing the parking spot was free kind of took the sting out of it! Now if you don’t mind me, I’ll be taking an Epsom salt bath and meditating for the next week.
I spent two long years fantasizing about the return of music festivals, and it’s safe to say it was worth the wait. I was truly honored to be able to attend this event and represent my blog. The countdown for Hard 2022 is on, we will see you next summer! For more Hard Summer coverage, check out our Instagram story highlight.