It’s a bittersweet day for artists and festival-goers everywhere. As HARD Summer’s 10-year anniversary gears up to open its gates in less than 24 hours, we must all now face the reality that Gary Richards (Destructo) will soon be splitting from Live Nation and HARD Events.
What started as a rumor that Destructo would not be booked for 2018’s Holy Ship! has turned heads over the past few days. After being acquired by Live Nation in 2012, Richards’ five-year contract with HARD Events came to its close this year and was not renewed. In response to the controversy surrounding the split, Richards issued the following statement:
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
HARD fans and artists alike have been tweeting about their dissatisfaction with the split, even using the hashtag #NoGaryNoShip to aim their frustration at Live Nation. Earlier this week, Boys Noize, who has a long history with Richards, shared a petition started by Holy Ship’s Shipfam which urges Live Nation to reconsider the split. The petition’s details state: “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.”
— Boys Noize (@boysnoize) August 2, 2017
Dirtybird will not be on @HOLY_SHIP in 2018.
— Dirtybird (@Dirtybird) August 3, 2017
— SKRILLEX (@Skrillex) August 2, 2017
Holy ship without @DestructoHARD isn't holy ship at all.. this man created endless memories for countless ppl 😔
— Ghastly (@Ghastly) August 3, 2017
While the news of the split is shocking and disheartening, there may still be a bright side in the form of the “incredible new opportunity” that Richards mentions in his statement. In a recent story by LA Weekly (which cited anonymous concert industry veterans), Richards is speculated to now be working with Live Nation competitor, LiveStyle, which is a re-branding of Robert Sillerman's promotions company SFX Entertainment.
While we hope that Richards will be able to continue to curate unique, forward-thinking events in the years to come, all we can do now is wait to see what the future holds. But in honor of Gary Richards’ brainchild, see below for some of our favorite HARD moments from over the years. Enjoy!