HARD Summer returned to NOS Events Center for a high-energy showing of hip hop and electronic talent over three days. The premiere west coast dance festival featured a lineup that spanned genres, bringing stars like Megan Thee Stallion, Koffee, Three 6 Mafia, and Porter Robinson together with fast-rising underground acts like ISOxo, Tom The Mail Man, and Saucy Santana.
The grounds were clean and amenities were impressive—bathroom lines for VIP guests were short and the facilities were notably well-kept. This may seem like a minor detail, but as any seasoned festival-goer knows, a nasty porta-potty after three days of booze, sweat, and more is a day-ruining health hazard. Water stations were widely available, although the signage for their location could’ve been made clearer. A variety of drinks and food were available for guests, including a non-alcoholic cocktail and several vegan options, like a booth with mouth-watering vegan chicken tenders and fries. Alcohol, of course, was flowing at HARD Summer, and Four Loko was back on the menu, to this reviewer’s shock and horror. Thankfully, it wasn’t the can of 14% ABV liquid chaos that was sold back in the day. I stuck to a different kind of Liquid Death—the canned water brand was readily available and, with enough determination, refillable.
The crowd flow of the festival was relatively contained, and on Sunday, the attendees seemed noticeably docile. Highlights of the day included afterparty house vibes from Justin Martin, a trap revivalist set from Rossy, and the palpably joyful AMINÉ taking the stage for an electric performance. Heavy acts like DEATHPACT were placed at the Green Stage in the speedway itself, an ideal setting for music that rattles the skull. Sound bleed between stages was mostly avoided, although there were points of slight overlap. Exiting the festival was a simple process, with dedicated parking lots available to guests. Overall, HARD Summer delivered on yet another standout year. See you in 2023!
Featured Image: Megan Thee Stallion by Demian Becerra for Insomniac Events