As we approach the end of June, it’s official, summer is in full swing! The weather is heating up naturally as we get closer to July, or maybe that’s just because HARD Summer is coming in HOT. This staple of the season is one of my favorite festivals in California all year. We’ve waited twelve long months to be back dancing in the desert, but I can promise it’ll be worth the wait. As a HARD vet myself, I’ll walk you through what I loved about last year and what I’m looking forward to for this one. That way you can go into the festival with the tools to have the optimal experience.
NOS Venue Highlights
I attended my first HARD Summer last year, and was pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite things about the festival was the turf that covered the ground floor of the venue. NOS is mostly concrete, and grassy areas are nice to chill on when you need a break. The addition of the turf was such a convenient detail that makes a huge difference for rave goers! No dust in your nostrils or lungs, and it is comfortable to walk on – no matter what rave kicks you commit to for the day.
Each stage at HARD was amazing, with its own unique vibe to offer. However, my absolute favorite stage was the GREEN stage. This was the stage that bass artists called home. The sound quality was immaculate, coupled with such a unique backdrop and mesmerizing funky visuals. The production quality at each stage is pristine, there is ample space for groovin’, and water stations & bathrooms are easy to locate.
Rest + Recharge
When it comes to logistics, Insomniac sets the standard. They take every aspect of the guest experience into account. There are water stations and bathrooms centrally located on the festival grounds, but also dispersed around the outskirts of the venue as well. There is no shortage in terms of food and entertaining either. The food selection is bomb and would it even be a festival without a Ferris wheel? I love how the Ferris wheel is located in just the perfect spot. You can watch a set at the PINK Stage from there while taking a sitting break with your crew.
Speaking of breaks, there is also a covered rest area that is located at the heart of the festival. We highly recommend stopping by atleast once per day to escape the California heat. It is conveniently placed for you to enjoy your festie grub, hydrate, chill, and meet up with your squad if necessary.
While there is so much to do and see outside of the music, let’s get into what we came for!
Last year’s lineup was fire, but this year… It’s explosive. Featuring plenty of EDM and hip-hop favorites, this lineup is one you don’t want to miss. The addition of a third day was in my opinion, the best decision Insomniac made this year for the fest.
Here are the acts you DON’T wanna miss.
Megan Thee Stallion
The first headliner for the opening day of the festival is the Stallion herself. Megan has coined the phrase, “Hot Girl Summer”. It would technically be a crime if she wasn’t at the hottest festival of the summer. Which will be overflowing with hot girls, gays, and theys from all over. If you want to see Megan Thee Stallion, the Hot Girl Coach, you better make sure you camp out at the stage she’ll be on. I’m talking, watching the set before she goes on, so while everyone leaves after and it’s her time to perform, you can already secure your spot and view. Issa hottie roll call. Don’t be late!
My absolute favorite pair of EDM DJ’s who have cultivated a production style that is uniquely their own, Zeds Dead is making an appearance at the NOS events center this summer. My first Zeds Dead set was at Sunset Music Festival in 2019. The duo absolutely blew my mind and there was not a moment during their set where I wasn’t head banging or gettin’ dowwwwn. They combine a plethora of genres into their own style of dubstep.
Here’s a taste:
TOKiMONSTA, my queen. A legend in the industry – brings a blend of pop, R&B soul, hip-hop, and melodic house to the decks. I’ve never seen her live, but have only ever heard that she is a total vibe live. Immediate FOMO. After listening and watching her many live sets, I know you’re all in for a treat. Take a moment to boogie with her at HARD, even if it’s just for a little. Once she blesses your ears with her talent, you won’t want to leave.
Here is one of my favorite sets of hers that I’ve been listening to lately:
If you haven’t seen a drum & bass set, this is the one to go to this year. A seasoned vet (17 years and counting) in the underground drum & bass scene, Sub Focus will provide the dance floor experience you never knew you needed. His uptempo sound will have you undeniably jumping, screaming, punching the air, and absolutely letting loose with your rave fam.
If these points haven’t convinced you by now that Hard Summer is absolutely hard, hot, and heavy; then I don’t know what will! The energy at this festival is undeniable and the lineup is always amazing. If there is any festival that is a must during the summer, I would say it is this one. It perfectly encapsulates the freedom, high vibes, and energy of the season. Hard consistently provides the space for festival goers to have an unforgettable time.
If you’re looking for day tickets, or even wanting to send it for all 3 days, you can purchase your wristbands here. I hope to see you there!