Gary Richards To Have New LiveStyle

The 10-year anniversary of Hard Summer, which launches Aug. 5, got some unexpected publicity  – which led to Gary Richards confirming the rumors. 

Erik Voake
– Destructo
“Holy Ship! 2015,” MSC Cruises -MSC Divina, Miami, Fla.

Richards, founder of Hard Summer, was expected to announce after the festival that he will be named president of LiveStyle, the resurrected SFX Entertainment now run by former AEG Live chief Randy Phillips. However, L.A. Weekly published a column three days earlier announcing Richards was departing Live Nation, which Richards confirmed via Facebook Aug. 2.

“To all the HARDfam & Shipfam : I am leaving Live Nation after this week’s Hard event to pursue an incredible new opportunity that I will share with everyone in the weeks to come. Accordingly, I will not be attending or curating the next Holy Ship cruise event in 2018. I have the utmost respect for Michael Rapino and Live Nation. Let’s make this week’s 10th anniversary show the best HARD event ever! Gary Richards AKA Destructo.”

Richards, one of the brightest stars in EDM both as an artist (Destructo) and as a promoter, sold a majority stake of his Hard Events company to Live Nation in 2012 for an undisclosed amount. He has told Pollstar that his events, including the popular Hard Ship cruises, are very much the efforts of him and his small year-round staff of three people. 

The departure will leave Hard Events in Live Nation’s care although a petition called “No Gary No Ship” has already begun by the ShipFam – the dedicated travelers of the Holy Ship cruises – that want to ensure Richards is in charge of the upcoming event when it launches Jan. 10.

“Dear Live Nation, we may not know exactly what the core issue is between you and Gary Richards, and frankly, we do not care,” the petition reads. “Gary Richards is the reason that HolyShip, Shipfam, and many prominent and well known DJ’s are known all around the world today. His name is synonymous with high quality and well-staged events all around the world, and without Gary, there is no ship, and most importantly, no Shipfam.

“At the end of the day, if you choose to give Gary the boot, or otherwise force him from Holyship, we pledge to make this hurt, and not physically, but financially.”

Hard Summer was recently moved from Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., to the Glen Helen Amphitheatre and Regional Park, which was rumored to be motivated by soft ticket sales and done so by Live Nation without Richards’ approval. Richards was recently asked about the move by Pollstar and he said it was basically for comfort.

“A couple weeks ago, I guess, Live Nation decided it made more sense,” Richards said. “The good news is that Live Nation operates that venue and it’s done a million shows there where it’s used the park adjacent as well. So my main guy, Ford Englerth, who’s been running the event for pretty much the last five years, is way more familiar with that location than the [Auto Club Speedway]. It may seem like, oh, we’re shifting at the last second but it’s a location they’ve done thousands of shows in.”

Richards’ Hard Events and Pasquale Rotella’s Insomniac promotion companies are both majority owned by Live Nation, although the relationship between the two EDM titans has been rocky, including a recent lawsuit and a Twitter war. Richards created Electric Daisy Carnival before it became Rotella’s massively successful Las Vegas event, and the two have recently had a public dispute regarding how talent allegedly is not allowed at one event if booked at another.

Richards is the subject of Pollstar’s upcoming Talent Buyer Executive Profile.