Hard Summer is one of the biggest electronic music festivals in California, attracting over 150,000 fans each year. With acts like Diplo, Zedd, and DJ Snake on the lineup, it’s no wonder Hard Summer sells out every year. But is it really worth the price of admission?
The main draw of any music festival is the acts. Hard Summer always books a stacked lineup mixing main stage headliners with underground DJs. The 2023 lineup includes Flume, Disclosure, Kaytranada, Duke Dumont, Dom Dolla, Jamie XX, and more. Fans can expect to hear house, techno, dubstep, drum & bass, hip hop, and everything in between. The diverse lineup means there’s something for all electronic music tastes.
Beyond the main stages, there are also curated showcases and surprise pop-up sets to discover. The Green Tent showcases underground house and techno DJs. The Pink Tent highlights pop and rap acts. The Purple Stage mixes live electronic bands with eclectic DJ sets. Part of the fun is stumbling upon a secret set, like Gesaffelstein or ZHU playing in the Heineken House in past years.
A music festival is about more than just the music – it’s about the entire experience. Hard Summer’s production value brings the stages to life. The most iconic stage is the HARD stage featuring giant butterfly wings that flap along to the music. LASERs, confetti cannons, CO2 blasts, and pyrotechnics ensure every performance is a visual spectacle. The themes and decor transform the venue into an enthralling atmosphere.
The giant scale means even crowded sets have decent views. Massive LED screens immerse you in the performance up-close. Plus the sound systems are crystal clear even at crowded stages. The production brings DJ sets to life in a way that simply can’t be matched by a typical club night.
Hard Summer is held at NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California. The spacious outdoor venue has room for multiple stages, art installations, rides, and other activities. There’s even a waterpark area to cool down in. Having everything in one place makes it easy to move between stages and experiences.
The venue is decorated to fit the festival themes. Past years have included Alice in Wonderland, space, and cyberpunk aesthetics. Roaming performers, art cars, and eccentric characters add to the atmosphere. There are chill areas like The Green for relaxing escapes from the crowds.
One downside is the venue’s desert location means hot August temperatures. However, the mostly nighttime schedule avoids the worst heat. Plus there are misting stations and free water refill sites. Shade can still be limited at some crowded stages.
The Hard Summer crowd brings the right festival vibe. Most attendees are in their late teens to mid 20s, with colorful festival fashion and good energy. The PLUR (peace, love, unity, respect) ethos of rave culture creates a welcoming environment.
However, the big crowds and party atmosphere also attract some bad apples. Hard Summer has had issues in the past with rowdy guests. Crowd management and security measures have improved over the years to ensure better safety. But it’s still wise to stay alert in large festival crowds.
Meeting new friends with shared music taste is part of the appeal. Hard Summer draws electronic music fans from across California and beyond. The crowds are there for the music and to have an epic weekend. Just use common sense for your personal safety.
Hard Summer doesn’t come cheap. But there are ways to do it more affordably. Here’s a breakdown of the different costs:
|2-Day GA Ticket
|$299 + fees
|VIP 2-Day Pass
|$549 + fees
|$99 + fees
|$19.95 + fees
|$45 + fees
|Food & Drink
As you can see, just the ticket, parking/shuttle, camping gear, and necessities could already run $600+. Plus travel costs for non-locals. Saving on accommodations by camping or sharing Airbnbs helps.
Basic festival outfits from Amazon keep costs lower. And you can bring food & drinks to save on vendors. Limiting party favors also keeps things more affordable. But realistically expect to spend $1,000 or more for the full weekend.
Pros of Attending
After weighing the main costs and considerations, here are the biggest pros of attending Hard Summer:
- Seeing top EDM acts in one weekend
- Amazing stage production and effort put into decor
- Discovering new DJs at curated stage lineups
- Fun festival fashion and creative people-watching
- Meeting like-minded electronic music fans
- The energy of fest crowds singing and dancing together
- Memorable party weekends with friends
Cons of Attending
The main downsides to weigh are:
- Costs add up quickly for tickets, travel, etc.
- Hot August heat and potential sunburns
- Massive crowds make moving around tricky
- Risk of dangerous drugs or medical issues
- Very tiring with lots of walking and late nights
- Post-festival depression is real when it’s over!
Is Hard Summer Worth It?
Overall, Hard Summer is an amazing chance to see top EDM artists and experience massive festival production. The costs and planning required are justified for hardcore electronic music fans. However, the heat, crowds, and expenses make it harder to recommend for casual listeners.
Attending with a fun group makes the experience much better. Look for ticket deals in advance. And budget wisely so costs don’t ruin the weekend. Finding a safe place to stay and traveling responsibly are also key. With the right expectations and preparations, Hard Summer can be an epic summer highlight.
Tips for Attending
If you decide Hard Summer is worth the trip, here are some tips for maximizing the experience:
- Buy tickets early to get lower prices
- Book accommodations nearby as soon as possible
- Make a packing list of everything you need to bring
- Hydrate well in advance to prep for the heat
- Bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and dust masks
- Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet all day
- Eat a filling meal before arriving to save on food costs
- Familiarize yourself with the set times and map
- Charge your phone and any battery packs before each day
- Travel with a group and look out for each other
- Pace yourself – it’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Hard Summer requires planning, budgeting, and acceptance of large crowds and heat. But for hardcore electronic music fans, few festivals offer as much bang for your buck. The production values, sound systems, and lineup make it an unforgettable party. Ultimately, Hard Summer 2023 is worth attending with realistic expectations and preparations.