As a member of the media, when applying for press at festivals, we’re afforded certain niceties, like VIP access and preferred entry. As such, we often miss out on a crucial part of the coverage of major festivals: what it’s like to enter the grounds as a GA ticket holder.
After this year’s HARD Summer, GA ticket holders have gone to social media in droves to complain about harsh conditions faced in line while waiting to enter the venue. Hours of waiting (up to three hours on Sunday) without proper shade or hydration (though HARD did hand out water to those waiting in line, we cannot confirm how often or how many bottles were given out) led to many people passing out or becoming belligerent.
In an account given to Magnetic Magazine, Sevag Dekermenjian describes the logistical nightmare that the GA “lines” presented:
There were no metal guard rails dividing each individual line! This caused a cluster outside with everyone pushed into what seemed like one massive line. People were being pushed and trampled, and no rails meant that anyone could cut and also switch “lines” back an forth to get ahead, screwing up absolutely everything.”
A similar situation could be found at the free water stations within the festival, leading to increased wait times.
And as bad as the situation was getting into the festival, the process of exiting seemed even more harrowing. Dekermenjian describes the herd of people trying to leave the venue through four tunnels near the HARD stage:
Once in the tunnels, it was a miserable hell. People were overheating, those who needed water looked like thy were dying, and we couldn’t breathe from the heat and body odor. We were constantly being pushed from behind but could only waddle like penguins forward.
The tunnels were described as eight feet wide, ten feet tall and 60 or more yards long. Without any way of emergency services to get to people in the tunnels, friends and by-standers were forced to take care of those who had overexerted themselves and carry them the rest of the way out of the tunnel.
There have also been reports that HARD’s Instagram is deleting comments and blocking users complaining about the conditions at this year’s festival.
Your EDM’s full HARD Summer review will be published soon this week.