All Photos: Grant Smith
Since the two tragic deaths at HARD Summer, HARD Presents has been under a very discernible amount of pressure from the city of Los Angeles to take more precautions in hosting a "safer" music festival. Many feared this would greatly hinder the experience, and although there were a few minor modifications to the festival experience, HARD showed that it still knows how to go... hard.
Upon arrival, the first noticeable change to HARD was the addition of multiple security checkpoints. These were so strict that many attendees joked they felt like they were passing through TSA. The checkpoints created a bottleneck at the festival's point of entry causing a lengthy wait time for those arriving in the mid-afternoon.
Despite the long wait times at the security checkpoints, once inside the festival, festival goers had ample room to roam the grounds. The stages were all indoors, which felt like a throwback to HARD's Haunted Mansion events at The Shrine.
Another notable change was the drastically increased police presence of 184 police officers. With so many on site, it's no surprise that there were 310 reported arrests, a third of which were related to fake identification.
Logistical changes aside, the music was on point as always. HARD has a proclivity for blending lineups with major headliners like deadmau5 and Skrillex, while boasting deep cuts like Falcons, Sango and Ryan Hemsworth B2B Tommy Kruise.
Standout performances included Method Man & Redman's set packed with their original tracks in addition to a few Wu-Tang classics.
French house quartet Club Cheval played an impressive medley of their collective works. Bromance Records and Pelican Fly labelmates Panteros666, Sam Tiba, Myd, and Canblaster all took to the stage in true live-tronic fashion using drum machines, analog synthesizers, and samplers to recreate their tracks in an exciting new way.
Although many know him for his social media tirades and cynicism, deadmau5's set served as a reminder of why he's a household name in the EDM world.
Ultimately, HARD showed that it can host a "safer" festival with increased security, while still maintain the high quality experience that HARD attendees know and love.
Check out some of the real stars of the festival below in their stunning costumes.