The lineup at HARD music festivals is always an eclectic blend of big names, rising stars, and small acts that we’ve never heard of. Here at Dancing Astronaut, we have a ton of respect for HARD founder Gary Richards (who also DJs under the stage name Destructo) because we always walk away from his events with the feeling that he puts the music first. HARD festivals are about more than superstar DJs drawing massive crowds — they’re about exposing fans of electronic music to a wide array of artists, helping us discover tastes that we didn’t even know we had.
HARD Haunted Mansion only began in 2008, but a quick skim through of old lineups reads like a laundry list of some of the most unique performers in EDM. Justice, Soulwax, Boys Noize, DJ AM, Crystal Castles, Deadmau5, Underworld, Calvin Harris, A-Trak, Jack Beats, and Nero are just a few of the names to have played the Halloween festival in the past. Click past the break for a breakdown of this year’s lineup and to hear which artists we’re most excited to see.
Friday’s Notables – Fatboy Slim, Rusko, Laidback Luke, 2manydjs, Annie Mac
Saturday’s Notables – Soulwax, Skrillex, Major Lazer, Skream & Benga, Fake Blood
As usual, the festival will be held at Los Angeles’ historic Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall, and if you’ll be in LA, we can’t think of a better way to spend your Halloween weekend. General admission tickets start at $65 per day, or you can save 10 bucks by paying $120 for a 2-day pass. VIP tickets start at $125 per day. For tickets, check out the HARD website. We recommend you buy them ASAP so you don’t have to wait at will call.
Who we’re excited to see:
Rusko: Once the biggest name in dubstep, Rusko has been overshadowed by Skrillex’s meteoric rise to fame. But Rusko’s performance at last year’s festival remains one of the best dubstep shows we’ve ever seen, and we’re expecting a set to remember this year.
Laidback Luke: What more is there left to say about this living legend? If you haven’t seen LBL do his thing yet, here’s your chance. (See what he did at Dayglow for visual evidence.)
Annie Mac: She hosts one of the most popular EDM radio shows in the world on BBC Radio 1, and we can’t wait to welcome her to LA with open arms.
Fatboy Slim: This is one of the names we’ve been hearing since we were little kids watching MTV when our parents were at work. Fatboy Slim’s “The Rockafellar Skank” (better known by its lyrics, ‘Funk soul brother, right about now’) is one of those dance tracks that seems to have been around forever, or at least since FIFA 99 came out.
2manydjs: Belgian brothers David and Stephen Dewaele are better known for their work as alternative/electronic band Soulwax, but we’re expecting greatness from their DJ set. Hopefully their performance will be as good as James Murphy and Pat Mahoney’s set at HARD summer (something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives).
Skream & Benga: Together with Artwork (who won’t be attending), Skream & Benga make up Magnetic Man, the dubstep equivalent of SHM or Above & Beyond. These are two of the guys who created the genre, and were instrumental in making it what it is today. It’s a pity Artwork won’t be at HARD this year, because Magnetic Man’s performance at Coachella 2011 remains hands down the best dubstep show we’ve ever seen. Get ready for some bass.
Soulwax: There’s something amazing about watching a live band control a crowd using instruments the same way a DJ does with a mixer. Soulwax are among the best in the business.
Fake Blood: Another repeat act from last year’s festival, Fake Blood plays a hugely enjoyable style of disco-house. Not one to be missed.
Clockwork: We don’t know too much about Henry Steinway, aka Clockwork, but his remix of Avicii’s “Levels” might be the only one that’s better than the original.