The rumor mill spun furiously today as talks of a split between HARD founder Gary Richards and Live Nation unearthed. It appears that parent company Live Nation is determined to push Richards, the founder of HARD Events, out of its flagship event HOLY SHIP!. Artists, fans of HARD events, and most notably HOLY SHIP! fam reacted strongly to the news.
The community showed an outpouring of support with change.org petitions, tweets, and more. What it boils down to: Richards may no longer be a part of HARD Events due to a breakdown in negotiations with Live Nation. This news is especially personal for Richards, who performed for over 20 years as Destructo while building the HARD Events prestige. He also performed as Destructo for his HOLY SHIP! appearances, becoming a beloved member of the community he helped build.
Live Nation purchased HARD Events five years ago under the pretense that Richards would become its CEO. The news today proves that, because of undisclosed reasons, Richards will allegedly not play nor participate in HOLY SHIP! for 2018. The contract between Richards and Live Nation ends after this year, and there is no consensus yet between both parties.
In recent interviews, discussion of the contract negotiations resulted in Richards expressing a tone of defeat about his future with HARD. He revealed that his involvement with the company may come to an end.
Alexandra Blair of Dancing Astronaut writes:
“One source described a call received from a colleague close to HARD and Gary Richards as a heads up […]. ‘The call was more or less an explanation of todays events,’ the source disclosed. ‘He had asked me to spread the news amongst the community as the Holy Ship! community is very much dedicated to it’s founders and HARD.’ The source also revealed that a statement will be released to those directly involved to ‘keep quiet’ about the events that are transpiring.”
Multiple artists jumped on board to support Gary Richardson.
To many artists, Richards is the backbone behind HOLY SHIP!, the most beloved event HARD executes. Without him in the picture, many intend to show solidarity by declining to perform for 2018’s edition.
— Boys Noize (@boysnoize) August 2, 2017
No official news has been released by Live Nation, HOLY SHIP!, nor Gary Richards himself. It is a waiting game to see the outcome of HOLY SHIP! for the following year, and whether Richards will have anything to do with it or not.
If you want to make your voice known about the cause, you can sign the petition here.
UPDATE: Gary Richards himself just confirmed that he will no longer be a part of Live Nation, and will not attend HOLY SHIP! 2018.
Feature image courtesy of Oh Dag Yo Photography.