I Went to HARD Summer and Don’t Have Much to Show For It

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written by Mara Manella

I love HARD events. The polarizing event company, often compared to the Insomniac’s of the world, has never let me down. I love going and comparing artists I know and love with those at the start of their skyrocketing careers, I love talking to people about it, and usually I love showing off my memories.
This time, I noticed something different. Usually I to attempt to document an experience—I love going back and looking at photos or re-watching 20 second clips of the madness that ensued. I want to share the frenzy with others who either couldn’t be there or need their curiosity satisfied. But HARD Summer provided a perfect amount of not-over-the-top frills that had an interesting effect on my behavior: I gave the phone a rest. This day felt different, deserved to be viewed and heard through something better than an iPhone 6, so it spent a lot of time bouncing around in my backpack.
The climax of this phone hibernation was during Amine Edge & Dance’s early evening set. I had missed seeing the French duo in the past due to conflicting sets and lengthy security lines so for me, the hype was real. Seeing their logo flash behind the decks was almost surreal, I was so happy to finally witness their energy in person. As the minutes ticked by and the sun began to set, I thought of friends that would love this set and the vibe of the Pink Stage…but they’d just have to see it next time, the scenery around me was for attendees eyes only. This trend continued throughout the night; I snapped quick photos here and there but overall just spent time dancing, people watching and cruising from stage to stage with a beer in one of two free hands.
While no one in their right mind would turn down an adventure into a fantasy world filled with whimsically dressed characters, blinding LED’s and fireworks that put the Olympics Opening Ceremony to shame, sometimes it’s refreshing to get back to the root of why we’re all there to begin with: those tasty beats. In the world of constant connectivity we live in, its becoming increasingly important to seek out authentic experiences. Sure, sets are live streamed on Facebook and uploaded to Soundcloud and YouTube, and that may make it easy to convince yourself to save some money and stay home. But never completely replace these amazing live experiences with something beaming out of a screen, because it doesn’t compare.
Dancing alongside other fans, hearing the depth and complexity of the music first hand and being immersed in the overall environment, though most likely a sweaty experience, is what it’s all about. I’m certainly not condoning selling off your couches and clothing to buy one last festival ticket, but donating some of your hard earned cash and getting in return memories that are all yours and will last a lifetime is a pretty good value. Maybe once you’re there, you too will record a few memories for yourself, not just your Snapchat story. Fest on!
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