By now, it's no secret that HARD Summer suffered from more than its fair share of logistical oversights. The three attendee deaths that resulted from this year's edition of the festival have since been chalked up to medical staff shortcomings - but additional public outcry suggests that the festival's organizers may have endangered lives by skimping on other basic necessities as well.
Sevag Dekermenjian was among those who experienced HARD Summer firsthand, and he told Magnetic Magazine that out of the 28 festivals he's gone to over the past six years, none were more dangerous. He recalled that after parking in lot 3C, he and other revelers were required to stand in the lines leading into the festival for roughly two hours. Because there was only one covered tent, they found themselves standing in direct sunlight for the majority of that time.
Most notably, though, they weren't really even lines to begin with. He explained:
There were no metal guard rails dividing each individual line! This caused a cluster outside with everyone pushed into what seemed like one massive line. People were being pushed and trampled, and no rails meant that anyone could cut and also switch "lines" back an forth to get ahead, screwing up absolutely everything."
However, Dekermenjian went on to describe the festival's exit, which turned out to be far more harrowing an endeavor than its entrance. The bleachers through which he came in were blocked off at the end of the evening, forcing all of the attendees to leave through a single entrance consisting of four tunnels which he estimates to have been eight feet wide, ten feet tall and 60 or more yards long.
"Those tunnels were ridiculously dangerous for that number of people," he said. "It took us 35 minutes just to get into one of the tunnels, and before that, it was all pushing and shoving with everyone trying to funnel into four openings."
The scene that Dekermenjian described next was on par with - if not worse than - the reckless endangerment that enveloped TomorrowWorld 2015 in a full-blown media circus. He said:
Once in the tunnels, it was a miserable hell. People were overheating, those who needed water looked like thy were dying, and we couldn't breathe from the heat and body odor. We were constantly being pushed from behind but could only waddle like penguins forward.
Those with tight space issues started panicking, crying and even screaming - and we saw two people pass out inside! Two! There was no way for their friends to get them out other than dragging them down the tunnel by their feet, and that was just our tunnel!
Once out of the tunnel we had to walk all the way around the venue, going right by what? You guessed it, the bleachers. It added a very long distance of walking for no apparent reason, and we got to our car a full hour later than we would have if we left from the bleachers.
Dekermenjian told us that he and others shared their testimonials by commenting on posts to the HARD Summer Instagram account, but discovered that whoever is in charge of the account has been deleting the comments and blocking the users who post them. "When you go to the HARD Summer website, there is no contact information," he went on. "I went to the Live Nation website to submit my observations and concerns, and their submission form isn't working for me."
We at Magnetic Magazine believe that its only fair for those endangered by lapses in judgement on the part of HARD Summer's organizers to have an open forum through which they can air their grievances. If your experience of the festival bore similarities to that of Sevag Dekermenjian, don't hesitate to tell us about it in the comments section below - or for guaranteed anonymity, email your testimony to info@MagneticMag.com.