#NoGaryNoShip: DJs revolt as Gary Richards is booted from the Holy Ship line-up

Since 2007, Gary Richards — you might know him as DJ and producer Destructo — has been the mastermind behind HARD Events, the festival brand responsible for US favourites like Holy Ship and HARD Summer.

But now, his time at the helm of HARD is over. In 2012, Richards sold a 50.1 per cent stake in HARD Events to Live Nation, signing a five year contract with the touring behemoth to stay on as HARD’s public face. With that contract now up, Gary is stepping away from the company he built and into a new role at competitor brand LiveStyle.

It looks like the split wasn’t an amicable one. LA Weekly report that Live Nation chose not to renew Richards’ contract, while a number of top-tier DJs have hit out at Live Nation’s decision not to put Destructo on the Holy Ship 2018 bill — a festival he’s played every year since its inception.

“No way would I have ever done @HOLY_SHIP if it wasn’t for @DestructoHARD …almost positive I can speak for most of the artists,” Skrillex told his followers, while fellow HARD alumni Boys Noize tweeted a link to a petition calling for Richards’ reinstatement.

In a public post on his personal Facebook page, Richards has confirmed that he won’t play next year’s Holy Ship. “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,” he wrote. “Accordingly, I will not be attending or curating the next Holy Ship cruise event in 2018.”

HARD’s flagship event HARD Summer will hit Los Angeles this weekend, though LA Weekly report ticket sales are down this year. As yet there’s been no official word on whether HARD Australia — which held events in four cities last year — will return Down Under in 2017.