Hard Summer books Skrillex, Miike Snow, Boys Noize, James Murphy
L.A.'s own Skrillex and Sweden's electro-poppers Miike Snow are among the many acts that will anchor the 2012 edition of the dance-focused Hard Summer, returning for the third year to the Los Angeles State Historic Park downtown. Reflecting the growth of electronic music and the strength of the festival market, Hard Summer will grow to two consecutive days this year, with opening night slated for Aug. 3.
Other artists set to appear at Hard Summer include Bloc Party, Boys Noize, Bloody Beetroots, Nero, James Murphy, Squarepusher and Bootsy Collins & the Funk Unity Band (full lineup below). Two-day passes are available and start at $119, not including surcharges. Last year's single-day Hard Summer was a sellout with 30,000 tickets sold.
Festival founder Gary Richards said ticket sales in 2012 are between five and 10 times greater than they were at this point last year. Capacity grew last year from about 25,000 to 30,000, and Richards did not yet have final word from the city on whether or not he could expect a similar growth this summer.
Richards said expanding to two days was a no-brainer. "It’s pretty logical to go from one day to two days," he said. "You have to build so much infrastructure –- the staging, the fencing and the power. If you put it all in there for one day, you may as well use it for another day."
It hasn't always been this easy for Richards and Hard Summer. The company is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year, but just two years ago the event was caught up in the maelstrom that descended on electronic events in Los Angeles after things went haywire at 2010's Electric Daisy Carnival. Richards had hoped to stage two separate summer events at the park in 2010, but was forced to downsize to one.
"It’s been a hot-button issue in the city for a long time," Richards acknowledged. "But I think with our operation, everyone likes working with us and we’ve come through on our end to make it as safe as can be."
The mainstream acceptance of electronic music seems to be accelerating at a rather rapid pace, thanks, in part, to Skrillex, who earned a Grammy nomination for best new artist. The recently concluded Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivalin Indio has placed dance on equal footing with rock since the event's inception, and Swedish House Mafia was one of the mainstage headliners this year. Sunday, Coachella vet Kaskade announced he would be performing a July 27 date at Staples Center.
Despite the recent goodwill toward the electronic community, Richards isn't ready to relax. "Whenever we’re doing an event, we have to bring our A-game and everyone has to be prepared for anything that can happen," he said. "We can’t let down our guard. We don’t leave any stones unturned to try to keep this safe."
Richards is again working closely with L.A.'s Metro transit system, as the Chinatown-adjacent park is just steps from the Gold Line. Hard Summer tickets will include weekend passes for the Metro.
He says he never considered switching locations. The Los Angeles State Historic Park has also been home to the FYF Fest in recent years.
"I’m trying to figure out ways to make the experience better for everyone coming to the event," Richards said. "People can park at the Metro substations, ride the train in and just walk right in. That would alleviate a lot of hassle in terms of getting in and getting out. We’re trying to fix all those points from last year."
Hard Summer will house four stages, with German DJ/producer Boys Noize and Miike Snow headlining Friday night. Skrillex and Bloody Beetroots will anchor the main stage Saturday. Satellite stages will take a more curated approach. Hard Summer's second outdoor stage on Friday will focus on techno, and the attention will shift to dubstep Saturday.
One of the tents Friday will be dedicated to disco and funk, among others, while DJ A-Trak will host a night of Fool's Gold artists in the other tent. On Saturday, Skrillex will curate one tent, and the other will focus on house music.
At this time, Richards does not intend to sell single-day tickets.With the likes of Kaskade now sharing the same stage as the Lakers, Richards said Hard Summer is intent on staying one step ahead of the mainstream.
"I’m really excited about a lot of the artists at the bottom of the bill -- people who we haven’t had before like DJ Antention, Smims & Belle and Baio. There’s so many new names. We try to bring in new people and not have the guy who has 15 hits on KISS-FM. We’re trying to develop the smaller guys and bring them up."
The complete lineup for Hard Summer, subject to changes, is below:
Miike Snow (live)
Bloody Beetroots (dj set)
Chromeo (dj set)
Bootsy Collins & the Funk Unity Band
Claude Von Stroke
Buraka Som Sistema
Birdy Nam Nam
Zombie Disco Squad
Jokers of the Scene
Smims & Belle
Jim E Stack
Mr. Mutha ... Exquire
Sound Pellegrino Thermal Team
-- Todd Martens
Image: Skrillex. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times