HARD, the influential, six-year-old dance-music festival that typically stacks its headliners with men like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Diplo, will launch a “weekender” of all-female DJs in New York and Los Angeles next spring. Gary Richards, the festival’s founder and a performing DJ known as Destructo, won’t name the stars, but he promises “all the dope-ass girl DJs that play HARD – and some new ones that haven’t played before.”
Maya Jane Coles, Annie Mac, Heidi and J. Phlip have been on various HARD bills in recent years, including last weekend’s Day of the Dead and last summer’s touring festival. Although electronic dance music festivals have taken off throughout the U.S. over the past decade – the Electric Daisy Carnival draws as many as 300,000 fans in a single weekend every year – even the best female DJs rarely make it to the top tier.
Richards is planning the spring festival to change that, without pandering or stereotyping. “People are like, ‘It’s the new Lilith Fair,'” he says. “I’m like, ‘What the fuck are they talking about?’
“I don’t think it matters if you’re male or female, as to how good you are making music or performing as a DJ,” he continues. “Why not have more women involved and have a spotlight shine on them? I look at my artist page on people who’ve played HARD, and it’s kind of dude-driven. I’d like to balance that out more. It’s important to showcase more female talent in this space.”