Photo Credit: Ivan Meneses for Insomniac Events
The iconic HARD Summer Music Festival entered its 12th year with an impressive forward-thinking, electronic and hip-hop fueled lineup. With temperatures over 100 degrees all weekend, the heat was no joke. All in all, my weekend was filled with good friends, good music and good vibes.
HARD Summer 2019 returned to the Speedway in Fontana for the second year in a row. The bowl-like venue has a similar feel to the layout of EDC Las Vegas, minus the sensory overload of lights. The two largest stages “HARD” and “HARDER” sit on opposite ends of the speedway from one another. It took about 10-15 minutes to get from one to the other, and even longer if you decided to take a break in the approximate 2,500 feet of misting lines through “Shady Lane”. There were over 100 misting fans, water cannons, numerous free water refill stations and roaming misting teams as well. For VIP ticket holders, there was even a full sized pool next to the HARD stage.
The weather was INSANELY hot. Thankfully, the Insomniac team blanketed the Speedway over over 1.22MM square feet of soft green ground cover. This made an immense difference in terms of the sun’s glare off the black pavement, and helped slightly reduce the heat. Additionally, there were more shade structures strategically placed around the venue this year. Once the sun went down, the temperature finally cooled down and the weather was immensely enjoyable. I know I was certainly in a much better mood when I had a bit of relief from the sun.
The stages themselves were epic. With a variety of musical talent, we were also able to experience an extreme variance in stage production and lighting. The fire shooting from the top of the stages is always a nice touch.
Parking was a bit backed up, which is to be expected. The Uber station leaving the festival was very organized and efficient.
HARD Summer has received complaints in the past for being an 18+ festival, with some fans urging it to be 21+. Perhaps it was simply my personal experience this year, but I felt that peoples’ overall rave-etiquette was pretty good. The heat certainly has an impact on peoples’ moods, especially in large, tight crowds. But, the music always seems to take precedence at these events, keeping fans’ full attention on the stage as opposed to on each other. The variance in the lineup also drew a varying crowd, and Insomniac did a very good job of splitting up large headliners between stages. There were very few times where I felt I had absolutely no room to move about in the crowd, and when I did want move, I was able to do so the majority of the time without any issues.
I will say, however, there is something we need to all be more aware of at these large festivals. We will all need to get by another person at some point or time. A simple “excuse me” can go a very long way – do not just push and shove through one another without acknowledging what you are doing. Let’s be more respectful of one another in that way.
This weekend was a spectacle of insanely talented artists. With every set I was able to see, there was another that I was unable to. As mentioned before, it is crucial for events to spread out the acts that will draw large crowds for the safety of attendees and staff.
There were some sets that I stayed for the entirety of, and some which I split 1/2 and 1/2. Some insane sets from Saturday include Habstrakt, Ghastly, Whethan, Flosstradamus B2B 4B, Justin Martin, What So Not, Excision B2B NGHTMRE and Alison Wonderland. Awesome sets from Sunday include Dom Dolla, Ookay (live), Duke Dumont, Claude VonStroke, Gammer, Kill The Noise, Kayzo, Zhu B2B Tchami, Flux Pavillion B2B Netsky, Major Lazer and RL Grime. As mentioned previously, this festival gave fans a wide array of genres to choose from across five stages.
In conclusion, HARD Summer was a success yet again. From hype artists to a strategically set-up venue, HARD was an enjoyable experience despite the excessive heat. The weekend attendance total ended up being ~ 170,000 people. HARD Summer 2019 proved how this iconic festival continues to improve the experience for fans and adapt for them each year. Congrats to Insomniac for another successful event, and we look forward to what is next.
Are you an attendee from HARD Summer 2019 who is already ready for the next festival? Check out these upcoming events.
Nocturnal Wonderland: September 14th & 15th
HARD Day of the Dead: November 2nd