Hard Day of the Dead Not Happening in 2016

Fans at Hard Day of the Dead at the Pomona Fairplex in 2014
Fans at Hard Day of the Dead at the Pomona Fairplex in 2014
Timothy Norris

Hard Day of the Dead, the Halloween-themed dance music festival that has for many years served as a smaller fall companion to Hard Summer, will not take place this year, according to various sources.

The news was first reported last Friday by the website YourEDM, and came from an unlikely source: an Instagram user named Vidalia Urrea, who posted a screenshot of a private message from Hard founder Gary Richards' Twitter account saying that the festival would not take place this year. By Monday, representatives for Hard confirmed that the news was accurate.

In his message to Urrea, Richards claimed that the decision was made back in January due to "production reasons" after the old venue for both Day of the Dead and Hard Summer, the Pomona Fairplex, declined to host either festival in 2016. “Preparing for two festivals at two new locations ... so close together would have been too much of a stress on our resources," he wrote.

Although representatives for the Pomona Fairplex never gave an official reason for not inviting Hard back, it was likely a reaction to the deaths of two teenaged women at Hard Summer at the Fairplex in 2015. In the wake of those deaths, the Fairplex agreed to host Day of the Dead only after Hard reduced capacity and number of stages and increased the festival's age limit to 21 and over — decisions that appeared to hurt attendance at DOTD 2015.

This year, Hard organizers moved Hard Summer to the Auto Club Speedway in Pomona. Three more attendees died there, but a representative for the company, speaking to the Los Angeles Times, declined to address whether their deaths played any role in the decision not to move forward with Day of the Dead. (If Richards' message is to be believed, the decision was made long before Hard Summer took place, although it remains unclear why it was never publicly mentioned until last week.)

Hard is continuing to move forward with other events, including a four-date traveling mini-festival in Australia (their first events in that country) in December and their popular Holy Ship! party cruise, which will take place over consecutive weekends in January.

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