How To Survive This Weekend's HARD Summer Festival
This Saturday and Sunday, EDM fans will descend on Los Angeles State Historic Park for the HARD Summer festival, where some of the scene's best acts will be spinning. Before your mind is blown by the sounds of Disclosure, A-Trak, 2 Chainz, Breakbot and the like, you'll need to prepare yourself. Surviving a music festival is all about planning, after all. Here are our personal tips to make sure your road to raging is nothing but smooth sailing.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but make sure you pad your tummy with some good eats before you get inside the doors. There are no ins-and-outs, so plan ahead. You can get moving with a clean slate by opting for one of the area's more healthy restaurants, like the new vegan eatery Dr. J's Vibrant Cafe or the locally-famous Homegirl Cafe. Or you could do dim sum at Ocean Seafood in Chinatown. Your choice. In terms of late night dining, grab a bite at Daikokuya (open til 1 a.m.) Echo Park's Brite Spot, which is open 24 hours and offers market-driven diner food. Their motto is "keep smiling," which you should be doing anyways after a day of epic music.
For Sunday, we suggest starting out the day at Pho 87. Pho and bun are a great way to cure a hangover, and you'll need something comforting to fuel you up for day two. Keep in mind they're cash-only though. You can also pop by Phoenix Bakery next door and get a sweet treat for the road (we're big fans their Mexican wedding cookies) or drop by Lollicup for a boba milk tea, which'll give you a quick jolt of caffeine.
Drinking is an obvious necessity during a summer festival. And we don't just mean booze. It's super important to hydrate and replenish your electrolytes during a two day dance fest. Coconut water is a great way to do so, or you can stock up on locally-made Lyteshow, a tasteless electrolyte enhancer that can be squeezed into a bottle of water before or after the show. (Obviously, outside liquids aren't allowed inside the festival.) It's specifically designed to replenish what you lose during a day of drinking, and will help you bounce back for day two. You can also slug down a juice that'll get your energy levels and immune system into go-mode from Sustain Juice Bar. Opt for a pressed juice like the Koko made with coconut water, kale, lemon and apple, or an appropriately-themed Endless Summer smoothie made with raw Ecuadorian cacao, banana, Peruvian maca, and coconut.
Now, for the booze. Downtown L.A. has become a hotbed for awesome cocktails as of late. Some of our favorite establishments are Cole's and the agave-focussed Las Perlas, but closer to the venue itself are The Far Bar, Hop Louie, and Traxx Bar at Union Station, the latter of which is only open til 9, so it's better for pre-gaming. Speaking of Union station, please take the METRO. Especially if you're going to be drinking. HARD has a map of routes on their site to help you navigate.
Slip, slop, slap
This Aussie phrase might sound a bit dorky, but it doesn't just apply in the sun-drenched country. You've got to protect your skin. Slip on a shirt that gives your skin some protection, slop on some SPF, and slap on a hat. Even though it's not forecast to be brutally hot, the sun is still strong here in SoCal. The last thing you need is a burn to harsh your good vibes.
There are a few convenience stores in Chinatown that can get you set with sunscreen, as well as a massive CVS on Sunset heading in to Downtown just West of the festival grounds. And if you need something fly and colorful to wear, we suggest hitting up two of our favorite boutiques in Little Tokyo, Kimski and Crack Gallery. You can also find some sick leather gear over at Skingraft, but it will cost you.
This is key. HARD is a full-throttle event, and you want to save room for the after-parties. The official one with Destructo and his crew includes a pretty sick lineup in its own right, giving you the chance to check out DJs you might have missed due to scheduling conflicts during the daytime.
Plan a recovery day
Even if you're smart and abide by our little planner, you're going to be wiped out. You've been dancing for two days straight, after all. If you can, request Monday off in advance and take advantage of the best places in L.A. to pamper yourself. Better to ask now than on Monday morning.