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Inside HARD SUMMER 2013 Part II - Four Stages of Fun
HARD SUMMER boasted an impressive roster of talent of headliners such as Knife Party, Duck Sauce, Dog Blood, Justice, Bassnectar and Empire of the Sun.

As the first weekend in August approached, the hype around the two-day sold out HARD SUMMER festival peaked. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media outlets were filled with posts that ended with the hashtag "#HARDSUMMER.

The vivacious atmosphere surrounding HARD SUMMER was infectious as we made our drive into downtown Los Angeles. The already crowded streets were flooded with festival-goers decked out in neon and glow-sticks. We made our way through the entrance of LA Historic Park, passing by the large, luminous HARD SUMMER sign which quickly became a hotspot for photo shoots.

The festival boasted an impressive roster of talent, with headliners such as Knife Party, Ducksauce, Dog Blood, Justice, Bassnectar and Empire of the Sun taking center stage.  Not only did HARD curate an insanely diverse lineup, but the festival’s organizers also made great use of the park by strategically spreading out the four stages: HARD, HARDER, SUMMER and UNDERGROUND.

We rushed into the festival-grounds, pushing our ways through the monster crowd Disclosure had drawn to their performance at the Underground tent. The UK brothers opened up with their track "F For You" and received roars of approval from the fans who were ready to groove. The crowd stretched far outside of the tent, filled with people of all ages screaming louder and louder each time a new track started. By the middle of Disclosure’s set, the audience had grown so massive that security guards began removing people from the stage “for their own safety.” Alas, Disclosure’s live vocals, incessant drumming and funky electronic beats left fans overjoyed as they sang along to hits like "When A Fire Starts To Burn," "You & Me" and "White Noise." The duo closed their set with “Latch,” evoking applause and cheers from the remaining audience members.
 
Next stop for day one was Dog Blood, a side-project comprised of Boys Noize and Skrillex. Dog Blood’s set was filled with raw energy that drew the crowd at HARD SUMMER to the HARDER stage. The two legendary producers gave the crowd a taste of new music as they performed tracks off of their recently-leaked EP.

    

Following Dog Blood was the musical duo TNGHT, made up of DJ/producers Hudson Mohawke and Lunice. TNGHT touted their distinct sound of electronic instrumental hip-hop beats and gave an incredibly energetic performance on the HARD stage. The crowd went absolutely insane when the duo’s hit track "Higher Ground" started blaring though the speakers.

   

After TNGHT we made our way back to the HARD stage to catch Duck Sauce. A collaborative effort from Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, Duck Sauce brought their “A” game as they spun hard-hitting bangers while standing in front of a massive duck statue. Hot off the heels of their summer release “It’s You,” the duo set gave a mesmerizing performance filled with funky jams including their hit, "Barbara Streisand," which left the crowd boogying down to the ground.

We finished our night in the same place we started the day, the Underground tent. Oliver's funky beats gave festival goers a breath of fresh air and motivated them to keep the party going after the long twelve-hour day. Their set of groovy tunes, which included their hit song "MYB," had fans in an all-out dance frenzy that brought day one of the festival to a close.

While day one was truly amazing, day two brought the festival to a whole other level, showcasing the progressive energy that makes HARD events so special. While the grass that once covered the park had turned into pure dust from our dancing, festival-attendees ignored their stuffy noses and continued to party on.  

Our first act of the day was Paper Diamond, a Denver-based producer who’s helped to shape the electronic music landscape of both Colorado and the entire country. His set of bass-heavy tunes incorporated influences from nearly every end of the dance music spectrum and had the crowd going wild despite his early 3:15 p.m. time-slot.  

    

After catching most of Brodinski's mind-blowing set at the SUMMER stage, we returned to the HARDER stage to catch Clockwork. Henry Steinway, who most know as either Clockwork or R.L. Grime, is a LA/NYC based DJ/Producer whose skills have made him into one of dance music’s top heavy-weights under either alias. Clockwork's recognizable, bass-heavy, big-room sound attracted one of the largest crowds of the day, stretching nearly from the Summer Stage all the way to the Underground stage. The massive sea of people did not move an inch as Clockwork ended his set with a bootlegs of DMX's "Party Up" and Dada Life's "Kick Out The Epic Motherfucker" before finishing with Migos and Drake's anthem "Versace."

If the HARDER stage wasn't already turned up, Flosstradamus certainly cranked the heat. Their  rap-influenced style of trap music, or "underground" music as they refer to it, had the crowd cruising, twerking, and of course, rolling up! Twerk teams assembled through out the crowd and the Hoodie Boyz got turn't up while the Hoodie Girlz repeatedly shook their bubble butts.

Dillon Francis took the stage next, immediately starting his set off with one of his famous antics of making a special guest appearance from his Dutch alter-ego “DJ Hanzel”. The crowd’s energy exploded as his team brought out all kinds of silly props such as blow-up Dillon faces with signs that read, "Where's my Dad?" Dillon opened up his set with an edit of Daft Punk's "Doing It Right" before transitioning into his hit tracks "Not Butta" and "Masta Blasta." About half way through his set, Flosstradamus came back out to perform along side with Dillon for one of their famous "Dillstradamus" collaborations. Around this same time, Dillon stopped his set to wish Craig from Flosstradamus a happy birthday and proceeded to get the crowd singing happy birthday the HARD way. After Dillon, we caught a little bit of Zedd before having the hardest question of the week, who were we going to end our night with?


The headliners for the second night, which included, Bauer, Bassnectar, Justice, and Claude Vonstroke, left us struggling to decide which route we wanted to take. While a majority of our group decided on one over the rest, I couldn't justify that decision, so I decided to catch a little bit of them all.

First, we saw Claude Vonstroke performing at the Dirtybird stage takeover happening on the Underground stage. Vonstroke's set was filled with funky beats, groovy samples and good vibes, making for the ideal closing set atmosphere. Next, we made our way over to Baauer. His set was filled with trap-anthems that couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the out of control party that took over the HARDER stage for all of Sunday.

Following Baauer, we traveled across the festival grounds to catch the King of Bass himself, Bassnectar. We have seen Bassnectar perform live over 20 times, yet we are still amazed by every one of his sets. His wobbly basslines along with trippy visuals grew a massive crowd that consumed the HARD stage.

After Bassnectar, we finished our night with Justice. Our decision to make my way over to the SUMMER stage was undoubtably the best decision of the weekend. We could only stand in pure amazement as an LA Metro car zoomed by while the French-duo performed a medley of fun-loving 80's songs that invited the crowd to sing along. It was unquestionably the most enjoyable way to bring closure to the amazing two days that were HARD Festival 2013.