Updated: Gary Richards has announced that he will be leaving HARD Events and Live Nation and will not be involved in the 2018 edition of Holy Ship! He has released an official statement.
Gary Richards is prominently recognized not only for his DJ alias Destructo, but also as the pioneering force behind the Southern California-based HARD brand and Holy Ship!, a successful recurring "rave-at-sea" experience that falls under the HARD umbrella.
According to several insiders, Richards' high-profile role as the face of Holy Ship! may soon be changing. Gary Richards sold HARD to Live Nation in 2012 and while the parent company has allowed Richards to remain at the helm of his festivals and events to the public eye since, it seems as though the company might be switching its course for 2018. Live Nation is reportedly looking to push Richards out of Holy Ship! by refusing to book him to play (he has played every year since its inception in 2012).
According to the post, Gary Richards' exclusion is the reason why the lineups of the back-to-back editions of Holy Ship! in 2018 have been delayed. Allegedly, many returning acts are hesitant about playing the event without Gary's presence.
In response, a petition has been created called 'No Gary, No Ship' which calls to Live Nation to rethink their decision to push Richards out of the cruise festival. Boys Noize, a longtime part of the HARD family and bookings, has shared the call to action as well.
HARD has been plagued by several deaths at its Southern California-based party HARD Summer across the years and for the first time in 2016, the brand's Halloween party called HARD Day of the Dead did not return due to "production reasons", claiming that the event "would have been too much of a strain on [HARD's] resources."