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The unending freshness of San Bernardino's Hard Summer Festival

The Californian night was set ablaze

The unending freshness of San Bernardino's Hard Summer Festival
The Californian night was set ablaze
The unending freshness of San Bernardino's Hard Summer Festival The Californian night was set ablaze

Seamlessly blending multiple genre’s of music at one music festival is no small feat, and curating the perfect lineup is even more challenging. However, Hard Summer cleverly and successfully managed to check off multiple boxes in 3 days. San Bernardino, California, located just outside of LA, served as the host city for the festival. With mountains in the distance, summer in peak heat, and festival installations keeping everyone entertained, Hard Summer goers ended their July with a bang, stepping into August as the summer comes to a close. 

I, accidentally, arrived at the festival grounds two hours early, paying no attention to the fact that there was no music blasting out of pristine clear speakers. So, rather than leave and come back, I made my way into the festival with my very patient friend in tow. After noticing we were the very first attendees to arrive, we decided to sit by the built-in pool at the Skydeck until we heard the first bass drop. With me typically being the type to arrive while things are in full swing, my overzealous timeliness proved to be an (*insert twinkle emoji) unique experience, as I watched the festival grounds go from empty to totally packed with festival goers, hearts set on seeing their favorite artists perform, and discovering new ones.

Honeyluv, hailing from Ohio took over the Pink Tent, brimming with a crowd intoxicated from the rapturous beats erupting out of the sound system. Packing a tent early in a festival is normally not the simplest task for artists playing earlier set times at most music festivals, but when the music is as masterfully blended as Honeyluv’s, the crowd can’t help but to follow. The enclosed tent, littered with discoballs, provided attendees an uninterrupted, roaring house beat, with DJ’s harmoniously interchanging, and no gaps of silence, spinning back to back hits until the very end of the festival.

TOKiMONSTA, a true festival favorite, enriched everyone’s day at the Purple Stage with an enthusiastic set, beaming with contagiously happy energy, proper for sunny California. Tokimonsta’s set consisted of a mix of high energy bangers and contemplative feel good grooves. Little Miss Festival Princess would be an appropriate, meme-core, descriptor for this Grammy Nominated artist.

Would a first festival experience even be appropriate without being completely lost, walking (with unwavering confidence) in the wrong direction for 20 minutes? During my (lengthy) period of confusion, I missed my opportunity to properly cross paths with Doechii, (sincerest apologies to her and team), however, I did have the pleasure of watching her perform an array of songs at the Purple Stage for her army of fans to sing along to (I was about 5 minutes early to her set for everyone’s information). Her songs combine fluid, empowering rap flows paired to layered production with undercurrents of unique hip-hop/house rhythms. Hits like Spookie Coochie from her album Coven Music Session, Vol. 1 and Crazy, her newest single, allowed everyone opportunities to twerk, two step, fist pump, while Doechii, with all the stage presence of a well rehearsed performer, led us into the night riding high. 

Over at the Hard Stage, headliner Lil Uzi, on his birthday no less, and dressed in Balenciaga of course, performed a heavy list of fan favorites along with tracks from his new EP Black and Red that sound very true to the ever-evolving Lil Uzi Vert we know and love. His track, F.F .(Final Fantasy) exudes an unearthly, saga-like energy, skillfully and concisely packaged into a 3 minute song. The likes of which you expertly include in a movie soundtrack, specifically at the most climactic scene, to evoke the rawest emotions. His fans, notoriously quick to learn his lyrics, roared along to every new song performed. Glimmers of 2015-2017 Lil Uzi were thoroughly sprinkled throughout his set (can nostalgia exist so soon?) and flashbacks of the Lil Uzi who’d boldly run through concert grounds, with hundreds of fans running directly behind, grabbing for his shirt collar, flitted through my mind.