Festival season is in full swing, and one of this season’s most exciting events is right around the corner. HARD Summer has long been known as the purveyor of EDM, hip-hop, and some gems that lie in between. This year’s lineup boasts a number of never-before-seen back-to-back sets, fan favorites, and brand new artists who will be making their first festival appearance in Southern California.
The best and worst aspects of a huge festival such as HARD Summer is the fact that there’s just so much going on that you may fear missing out on other acts. We’ve decided to scope the lineup for ourselves and bring you the best way to go about your weekend in order to get the maximum HARD experience. If you know you’re more into EDM than hip-hop or you’d like to check out live singers over DJs, adjust accordingly — this weekend is all about celebrating what you love about music.
We recommend you arrive bright and early on Saturday to catch on-the-rise artists (and to avoid traffic!) since the party starts at 1:00 p.m. If you’re dialed into the local dubstep scene in Southern California, you’ll recognize Ubur opening up Green Stage — we just caught him at Space Yacht‘s first-ever boat party last month, and we’re down to catch his set again. Moving to the main stage of the festival, BURNS is kicking off the HARD Stage at 2:00 p.m. for an expected multi-genre set that’ll get the crowd moving early on in the day. It’s wise to stick around the main stage for Devault‘s set at 3:00 p.m., too.
As the day goes on, there’s some pretty heartbreaking set conflicts. But if you play your timing right, there are absolutely ways to get the most out your weekend. At 4:00 p.m., there are scheduled sets from Medasin, KITTENS, Sullivan King, and Kolombo. Sheesh, okay — we’ll plan it this way: if you’re in the mood to get into the groove, I’d recommend catching the first 30 minutes of KITTENS’ set as she’s representing the Fool’s Gold catalog and then sliding over to Kolombo for some booty-shaking house action. For those who prefer to dive deep into beats and bass, get your 30-minute fill with Medasin and then catch the last half of Sullivan King’s expectedly heavy set.
Heading into the evening, we’re looking forward to a few sets from the hip-hop end of the spectrum. Jaden Smith and 070 Shake are unfortunately conflicting at 5:50, but 070 Shake is only playing until 6:20, so we’re determined to spend most of our time watching her dominate the stage considering her explosive success just this year. If hip-hop’s not quite your style or you’re simply in the mood to rage, JOYRYDE takes the HARD Stage at 6:10 for what will be a positively wild experience. Thankfully as the sun begins to set, this weekend’s Pink Stage features extended sets from some of house music’s top dogs. From 6:30 until 8:00, you can fully immerse yourself in the sounds of Fisher during his special Catch & Release set if house music is your preferred poison.
It’s officially nighttime, and the superstars are coming out to play. One of the best things about HARD events is the ability to catch up-and-coming talent and some ultra-rare B2Bs all in the same place. TroyBoi is performing at the HARDER Stage at 7:50 to offer his future-focused trap beats; Valentino Khan will surely put on a hyperactive set at 8:00 on the Green Stage; to slow it down, Louis The Child will perform their silky smooth hits on the HARD stage at the same time. Once 9:00 rolls around, we’ll be catching Ekali at the Green Stage; however, if you caught him at EDC Las Vegas or you prefer to check out his 7:00 set at the Corona Electric Beach stage, do yourself a favor and experience Zeds Dead B2B Jauz. We can only imagine just how large the hype will be. Following suit, one of the final mega-B2Bs of the evening comes from Borgore and Getter — we’re not missing that.
It’s the second and final day of HARD Summer — hopefully you’re adequately hydrated and well-rested considering the temperatures will be sky high. The early afternoon brings us a nice dose of bass music: WHIPPED CREAM takes on the HARDER Stage at 2:00 while Tynan makes his HARD debut on the Green Stage at the same time. We’re going to hop between both stages to get the full experience. If you’re a hardcore kid at heart, you’ve got two chances to see DUCKY, including her 3:00 set at the Green Stage and her 5:00 set at Corona Electric Beach. If you’re in a not-so-hyper mood, we recommend checking out Elohim‘s 3:00 set at the HARD Stage; her performances are simply beautiful. As one of the most versatile DJs in dance music right now, Mija is bringing her flair to the HARDER Stage at 4:05 where you can expect a mix of house, future bass, trap, drum and bass, and more.
To get your fix of house music on day two, park yourself at the Pink Stage: starting at 3:55, gear up for sets from artists including Sage Armstrong, Born Dirty, Escapade (Walker & Royce + Ardalan), and more. Coming off the heels of his ‘Mystifying Oracle Tour,’ Ghastly is bringing his supernatural vibes to the HARD Stage at 5:30 for a rockin’ set of bass house, dubstep, and more. Immediately following, San Holo is making his highly anticipate HARD Summer appearance on the same stage where we expect him to pull out all the stops and drops for a magical performance. That evening, we’ll also be shaking our hips to the B2B set from A-Trak and Baauer at 7:20.
Between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00, there’s A LOT going on, but it’s all up to what you’re in the mood for that evening. Just to let you know, there’s a special appearance at Corona Electric Beach at 8:00 that’s yet to be announced, so keep your eyes peeled for that announcement. If you’re a Mad Decent stan at heart, there’s no way you’re missing Diplo B2B Dillon Francis at 8:15 — it’ll be like reliving a Mad Decent Block Party in 2013, trust me. As the voice behind summer anthems of now and years past, MØ is performing at the Purple Stage at 9:00 so you can sing along to “Lean On.” If you’re down to cut from her set a little early, TOKiMONSTA is absolutely worth the watch.
Finally, the conflict of them all: Travis Scott, Virtual Self, Virgil Abloh, and Kill the Snails (Kill The Noise + Snails). If you’ve never seen Virtual Self, please, for the love of all that is holy, check him out. It’s worth it to experience his unmatched set, even if it’s over the rest of the all-stars taking the 10:00 slot. For hip-hop, you gotta see Virgil Abloh — he might even drop some of his new material with Boys Noize. Wherever that last hurrah takes you, it’s sure to be a great time.
If it’s your first time attending HARD Summer, I can’t imagine the stress you must be under regarding set times! For those who have done it before, you know exactly how to prioritize your time, especially if you’ve seen some of these artists in previous years. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the best things about HARD events is the luxury of catching a wide range of sets from house to hip-hop to dubstep and beyond in a single weekend. Branch out as much as you can and don’t be afraid to get separated from your squad for a little bit so you can each come home with a few artists you never knew you loved until now.
Tickets are still on sale for HARD Summer — purchase them here. Download the HARD Summer app on your phone to save your personal schedule and stay up to date on set changes, special appearances, and more. Visit their website for a full list of set times this weekend, and we’ll see you on the dancefloor.