HARD SUMMER returned to the Pomona Fairplex this past weekend with more hype than ever. A killer line-up, a sprawling venue, every respectable food truck in the greater Los Angeles area?! DAMN THEY GOT EVERYTHING. Sure, there were several eye-roll worthy moments, but what festival is without it’s kitsch these days? So enough with the EDM-haters!
Here is a comprehensive photo diary of our two-day adventure—complete with pizza outfits, totems, tutus, ferris wheels and MAYHEM.
At 2:00pm is was already hotter than the actual surface of the sun, but me and my Black Backpack Gang were more than ready to do the damn thing
Right when we walk in we begin to notice these adorable little nuances thanks to Hard’s PR team. Festival AF? What does that even mean?? Whatever, we appreciate the effort.
We started at the main stage waiting for almost 30 minutes into Schoolboy Q’s allotted time for his to graciously bless us with his presence. He’s definitely one of my all-time fave rappers but even I was a rubbed the wrong way by his lateness. Good thing his set was straight fire to make up for it. Highlight? His dance moves to “Collared Greens”.
Hard Summer had all the standard elements—though they didn’t have the epic zipline they had at Hard Day of the Dead, they DID have the worlds cutest wittle fewwis wheel you’ve ever seen <3
We shuffled over to catch the end of Odesza’s beautifully lyrical set. We love these dudes — even though their set was placed pre-sunset (odd timing, methinks), these Seattle boys gave it their all and delivered something super special. Pacific Northwest pride forevs.
Festival fashion was in high gear, as you might imagine. We saw plenty of titties and tutus but out all-time favorite was this bro decked head to toe in pizza attire. His mother has got to be super proud.
Just as the day started to cool down, The Weeknd hit the stage to heat it right back up. I’ll admit that prior to this performance I was not drinkin’ the kool-aid. I never really *got* what people saw in The Weeknd. But this set was amazing – his voice is like spun gold and his presence is anything but disappointing.
I mean just look at that presence…
After The Weeknd, we hung around in the beer garden and hit the bathrooms quickly. We made friends with a group of renegades trying to convince their last friend to hop the fence into VIP for the shorter bathroom lines (they were significantly shorter but just as fckn disgusting).
Unfortunately they were met by this Boss Hog. “There’s only room for one Sherriff in this beer garden…”
The snug was down and after a super quick foray with my bb Porter Robinson (epic as always), it was now time for the main event: THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS. The crowd was simmering with anticipation as we waited for this legendary electronic duo to show us what they got.
And it was absolutely spectacular. High-octane, heart-pumping – it was everything we had hoped and more. Strong, dark imagery across the screen was accented by lasers, smoke, strobes. It doesn’t get much more massive than this. 10/10: will see again.
Across the Fairplex, Dillon Francis was quite literally blinding people with giant LED screens with cats and fire cannons that somehow seemed less impressive after The Masterpiece (this is what we are calling The Chemical Brother’s set). No hate, DF. You are bae for sure and your set was also massive in it’s own way…but it kind of feels like we’ve seen it all before?
Day One was a great success……until we tried to leave. It took us two hours to get out of Pomona and onto the freeway. PARKING SQUAD CAN Ü GET ON OUR LEVEL PLZ?
After some much needed snoozes (like 3 hours), some fresh squeezed juice (mimosas) and some wellness vitamins (ibuprofen), we were back at it. Due to said Parking Squad’s incompetence, we spent nearly two hours creeping down the back streets of Pomona to Lot 9. I heard Fetty Wap from the car but that doesn’t really count, does it?
The first show we made it in for was the electro-crossover darling Jamie XX. We had all been waiting patiently for our chance to see this unique, varied set. From disco to hip-hop to electro-grunge, Jamie XX had every trick up is perfectly rolled-up sleeve. And although the Pink Tent aka airline hanger was nearly 20,000 degrees Farenheit, it was magic.
Unprecedented, unparalleled magic.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT! Back into the blistering son for the grit and grime of the world’s favorite zeflords, Die Antwood. Boiling over with energy, they are truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Easily one of the best sets of the weekend.
My reaction when people tell me they skipped Die Antwood….
They were joined onstage by the relatively smalltime actor named Jack Black.
Back to the main stage for some good ol’ fashioned dubstep with our tried-and-true homies, Zeds Dead. These guys were some of the first electronic music I ever listened to and they threw down a solid party set for the ages. The place was packed with people ready to get down.
And when I say packed, I mean ABSOLUTLY PACKED. This was at 6:00pm aka and the heat was just beginning to break.
This was also where I met the saddest photographer in the world. He rocked.
After we had a solid dose of bass in our face, we decided to go funk things up a bit with Chromeo. This year’s line-up did an excellent job of presenting lots of different kinds of music so fans could switch the mood up with a simple pilgrimage across the dusty fairgrounds.
Can we all take a second to recognize this underappreciated sexiness of David “Dave 1” Macklovitch!? You can reflect light off your chrome guitar on to me any time, any place. #callme
The sunset was finally upon us. We were already getting nostalgic. I didn’t want it to be over.
Creeping towards the end of the night and wanting to pack as much mischief in as possible, we fought our way to the very front for RL Grime. His set was probably the most epic of the entire weekend. Hard mixes of electro, trap and hip hop got everybody’s blood pumping. I could feel the heat of the fire cannons singeing my eyelashes AND I LOVED IT. LA’s golden boy delivers once more. (Come home soon, bb. We will sell your show the f out.)
At long last, the moment we had all (sort of) been waiting for: Jack U. The crowned princes of electronic music took the stage to thunderous applause and blood-curdling wails of adoration. Skrillex monkeyed his way up to the decks immediately while Diplo strut himself around the stage for everybody to look at.
Diplo was looking as bae as ever. Couldn’t really figure out what his contribution was besides hype-man tho tbh…oh well, every pop boy-band needs a pretty front man, right? JUST KIDDING (kinda).
The show was pretty spectacular though. They pulled out every stop and played every hit they had. It was a massive end to a massssssssive weekend.
Thank you HARD SUMMER, you have truly out done yourself this time. We’ll see you next year!!!