HARD Summer 2017 Day One Highlights: DJ Snake, Justice, Charli XCX & More: 

Justice perform at Hard Summer Music Festival – 10 Year Anniversary at Glen Helen Amphitheatre on Aug. 5, 2017 in San Bernardino, Calif.

Following an announcement earlier in the week that he’s parting ways with Live Nation, subsequently relinquishing the HARD Events brand, Gary Richards’ (aka Destructo) 10th and final HARD Summer Music Festival became an ode to his West Coast rave legacy.

On opening day (Aug. 5), festival-goers and artists backstage alike could be heard throughout the event reminiscing about their favorite HARD performances of the past. With standout sets by eclectic bookings Nina Las Vegas, Amine Edge & Dance, DJ Heather b2b Colette and Cashmere Cat, it was Saturday’s throwback artists that teleported the young crowd to a land before their time.

While HARD’s events and audience tend to skew towards a hip-hop leaning aesthetic, it was Los Angeles’ own Doc Martin, followed by ‘80s dance-rap legend Egyptian Lover, who reminded — or in some cases taught — the Southern California audience that the roots of electronica are alive well. Indeed, the rhythmic potency of Lover’s classic “Egypt, Egypt” stirred up the crowd into.

While a decent crowd grew at the Purple stage for E-40, the California rap fixture canceled last minute for reasons unknown as of press time. But Josh Young (aka YehMe2), formerly one-half of Chicago duo Flosstradamus, took to the decks before his scheduled time after E-40, sporting a matching checkered outfit as his wife proudly looked on.

Fresh off the release of her Hollywood eye candy music video for current single “Boys,” electro-pop star Charli XCX offered up a crowd-pleasing catalog of her chart-topping originals and collaborations.

Touted as a Mobb Deep Forever tribute in honor of Prodigy’s untimely passing, remaining member Havoc was also slated to perform but canceled for unknown reasons. Fool’s Gold boss A-Trak took to the decks to warm up the crowd before the unfortunate news, playing out the legendary duo’s career-spanning hits, including the anthemic “Shook Ones,” as a multi-generational sea or ravers rapped along still honoring the duo’s bequest.

The French stormed day one’s roster as dynamo duo Justice slapped their signature cross logo on the Harder stage, while the festival’s main stage was themed and curated for DJ Snake’s globe-trotting party series, Pardon My French. Playing a DJ set, Gaspard and Xavier attracted an enormous crowd closing with their smash “D.A.N.C.E.” and even paying tribute to Sunday headliner Snoop Dogg by dropping the rapper’s famous “What’s My Name?”

Parisian hitmakers Malaa and Tchami brought their funky future house bass lines dipped in hip-hop swag to an ocean of sunburnt shufflers building up to the night’s most hyped headliner, DJ Snake. The chart-topping producer balanced his mass appeal with mash-ups of platinum-sellers “Middle” and the Justin Bieber-assisted “Let Me Love You,” while inviting emerging act Kayzo to the stage mid set.

The L.A.-based producer welcomed his French buds “to his hometown” after getting to perform at the Pardon My French party in Paris recently. Prior to the festival, Kayzo teased fans on social media about a special announcement, which was revealed to be an upcoming gig at Los Angeles’ Palladium in October.


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