Words and photography by Jina Kim
From the moment it sprung to life in 2007, HARD Summer has become synonymous with the vibrant, sun-soaked spirit of a Los Angeles summer. Guided by the experienced hands of Insomniac, this year’s festival was a soul-stirring experience. I could feel the magnetic energy as Gorgon City, Skrillex, and Four Tet brought their unique soundscapes alive, igniting the passions of an audience as diverse as the beats that fueled us.
For a house music devotee like me, every beat by Kaskade, John Summit, Black Coffee, and ChaseWest felt like a heartbeat in sync with mine. And as someone who revels in the intense and unpredictable, the festival’s experimental stages felt like home. Knock2, ISOxo, Peekaboo, LaxCity, and the electrifying duo of Skrillex B2B Four Tet took us to a different universe of sound. But HARD Summer was so much more than an EDM paradise; it was a place where Ludacris, Kid Cudi, 21 Savage, and Jungle blurred the lines of genre and carried us on a musical journey.
I’ll never forget the sunset on that final day. As the sun kissed the horizon goodbye and the closing beats marked the end of this wonderful journey I really felt: HARD Summer 2023 had indelibly inked its place in my heart and the annals of festival lore. More than just music and revelry, it was a celebration of community and the immortal essence of summer that set my soul ablaze. It was a tribute to the power of sound to unite, to elevate, and to transform a mere weekend into an everlasting memory.