The post-pandemic future of live music begins July 31st in Southern California as the Hard Summer Music Festival returns to the National Orange Show (NOS) event center in San Bernardino. Tickets go on sale Friday April 2nd, 2021 and I couldn’t be more excited. There is no normal until things start again and that, for me, marks the opening bell. Nothing says summer like a music festival.
I had a long conversation with Meg DesChenes, the manager of Hard Events earlier this month. We were talking about a lot of things, including the resumption of the live events and what she and her team were doing to maintain continuity with the fans who attended the events of Hard. During our conversation, we were hopeful that the combination of the rollout of vaccination and declining infection rates would bring life back. But, once burnt, twice shy, neither of us were completely convinced that the lights would come on and the sound would increase as expected.
This is the first play I have written in a year in which the happy ending is clearly visible. I will be at the center of NOS events in a few months. The demographics of Hard Summer weigh on young people and egalitarians. This will be a good indicator of what larger festivals can look like. Nothing will reveal more truth than igniting a festival full of young people after a year of detention in a pandemic. For a guy who went to eleven festivals in 2019 and no festivals in 2020, these are the happiest words I have written in a year. If anyone wants to join me, here is the link to get tickets:
Meg DesChenes has a very full plate. Hard Events produces a variety of live events. In addition to the Hard Summer Music Festival which has existed since 2007, they produce HOLY SHIP! which was once a ship-based event, but now hosted at inclusive resorts, Hard Day of the Dead and Hard Red Rocks. During the pandemic, they began hosting 300 parking lot and rave events in San Bernardino frequently. These probably gave them a good taste of what crowds could do once freed from the confines of their cars and entered the nature of an open field or arena.
But most interesting to me was the pandemic pivot they did to create Try Hards, a gaming competition that airs on InsomniacTV through Twitch. Try Hards takes place on Twitch at 2:00 p.m. weekdays except Thursdays.
Gaming has evolved rapidly as eSports and streaming gaming have grown. The gaming community is interactive and dynamic. For someone like me who left the game once it migrated beyond a single joystick and a single button, I remain amazed at the combination of complexity and reality that made the game go. from a diversion to an immersion.
Talking about the game with Meg took me deeper into the world of adult gamers. Meg’s family history has undoubtedly contributed to this endeavor. Meg herself is a player who can be part of the driving force behind Try Hards. His father published one of the first analog and computer games magazines. For Meg, the stay-at-home element of the Covid shutdown was the impetus to get back into the game.
InsomniacTV is a growing channel based on dance music content, but Try Hards has brought a new way to connect fans and creators by adding game show elements. It’s like EDM sport. The format is a 2 x 2 competition with two teams, each with a player and a DJ. The teams compete against each other in a lightweight tournament. The show’s first season, hosted by Brittani Johnson, featured six weeks of streaming, three gameplay episodes, and a recap show. Twitch, owned by Amazon
Try Hards will also be live and onsite at Hard’s events. The plan is to incorporate live team play into festivals and performances as something that can be watched in real time, as there are now chefs live on stage cooking at a secondary stage in many. music festivals.
Here is our conversation:
The seemingly endless circus of Covid-19 will continue to ravage those planning live events. Each day brings a new curious twist. Today’s news is that Johnson and Johnson had a “factory manufacturing error” and had to destroy 15 million doses. Tomorrow could be something about another variant of the disease. It is the new pioneers like Meg DesChenes who seek to reconcile normality and vigilance and, in doing so, restore the elements of life that are worth living. If it was possible to toast on paper, this is where you would see my drink. Long live the return of live!