Live Nation Grabs Hard Events

Live Nation has acquired promoter and festival operator Hard Events, making the Los Angeles company the latest addition to LN’s portfolio of companies specializing in electronic dance music events.

Founder Gary Richards will continue to run Hard Events and report to james Barton, president of Live Nation’s electronic music division.

The acquisition follows Robert F.X. Sillerman’s announcement that the roll-up king intends to spend more than $1 billion on EDM companies, and the purchase of the U.K.’s Cream Holdings.

Hard Events has spearheaded some of the top EDM festivals in L.A., including the Hard Summer Music Festival and Hard Mansion. Hard Summer expands to two days this year, Aug. 3-4 at Los Angeles State Historic Park, after drawing more than 30,000 fans to its single-day event in 2011.

“Live Nation is committed to empowering the electronic dance space with resources and a netwo4k of some of the best talent in the industry,” Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said. “We welcome Gary Richards and his team, and look forward to helping him continue to expand the reach of this dynamic genre for fans and artists alike.”

The recent corporate interest in EDM isn’t going down well with some practitioners of the art, however. While the culture at the core of the genre has developed over at least the last 20 years, many feel the music wasn’t taken particularly seriously until it became apparent a lot of money could be made, and that “the suits” threaten the independent spirits of producers and fans.

“EDM has turned into a massively marketed cruise ship, and it’s sinking fast,” Deadmau5 posted to Tumblr the day before the Hard Events acquisition was announced, according to the New York Times. “All I’m trying to do is put on my life jacket and swim as far away from this shipwreck as fast as I can.”

Even Richards, before agreeing to sell to Live Nation, expressed skepticism in an earlier interview with the Times.

“You can’t just franchise this like McDonald’s,” Richards told the paper.

In defense of his deal with Live Nation, Richards told the paper that Live Nation would help him expand the Hard brand while allowing it to maintain its character.

It’s no small advantage that in teaming with Live Nation, Richards now has the potential to take Hard around the world, where EDM festivals are well-established, massive affairs.

“I’m always going to fight the good fight,” Richards said. “The reason I’m different from other festivals is that I bring the new thing, develop it and bring it to the masses. This will only be able to help, because now instead of just L.A. and New York, I will be able to do this in South Africa, South America. It’s only a good thing.”