Gary Richards wants to introduce you to your new favorite party. It's called Hard, and since 2007 it's been drawing thousands of electro heads together for messy free-for-alls in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Next city in Richards's sights? Miami, of course.
A DJ and record industry insider turned concert promoter, he has been coming to Miami for Winter Music Conference since the early '90s. "I feel like Miami has one of the best cultural scenes," Richards muses from his office in Los Angeles. "It's a melting pot of everyone who just likes to party and dance. My dad did a lot of work with Power 96 down there for years and years, so I'm really familiar with it."
After being founded in the mid 2000s, Hard quickly expanded into one of the country's premier electronic music parties with several yearly events and bookings that would make any promoter jealous, including Deadmau5, Simian Mobile Disco, Modeselektor, M.I.A., Justice, Crystal Castles, Moby, MSTRKRFT, and Basement Jaxx.
And last year kicked off Hard's attempt at Miami party domination when a couple of hundred swimsuit-clad partygoers took over the former Blade pool area at the Fontainebleau Hotel. Compared to the 30,000-person arena events in Los Angeles, though, it was rather tame, partly because Miami Beach's strict noise ordinances kept the volume well under bass-rattling range.
"Last year's [pool party] was great. I was kind of feeling it out a little bit. The Fontainebleau was a cool location. But I think our sound and style works better at night and indoors, so we've moved [the party] to Grand Central. I think it will be more bangin' there, and we can go till five in the morning."
In addition to the late closing time, the move bumps up capacity to a little over 1,000, and with a lineup featuring Diplo, Tiga, SebastiAn, DJ Mehdi, Busy P, Tinie Tempah, and others, you can expect a full house. Nevertheless, Richards says, this party is more about brand awareness than ticket sales. "For me, the goal is to have a rockin' party in Miami. It's not like I'm thinking, I'm going to Miami to make a bunch of money. Really it's like, We're Hard, this our brand. This is our style."
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Hard Miami with Diplo, Tiga, SebastiAn, and more. Thursday, March 24. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $30 via fla.vor.us. Ages 18 and up. Visit hardfest.com.