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Gary Richards rumored to be pushed out of HARD Events, Holy Ship’s future uncertain [UPDATED]

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After spending more than a decade building his revered nightlife brand HARD Events, it is rumored that Gary Richards is being pushed out of it’s crown jewel event Holy Ship!

News is surfacing today from multiple sources close to HARD and parent/partner companies Live Nation and LiveStyle that due to an enduring feud Richards will not be booked to play or tapped to participate in Holy Ship’s 2018 iteration, set to sail this January 6. Sources also suggest that Richards’ future at the head of the HARD brand itself is now in question.

One source described a call received from a colleague close to HARD and Gary Richards as a heads up to those connected within the industry and a wake up call to fans whose noise on social media might impact the situation.  
“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 sources have suggested the root of the feud lies in the ongoing contentious relationship between Bowery Presents’ parent company AEG and Live Nation. Bowery Presents notably helped Richards arrange the first Holy Ship events by facilitating a partnership with Cloud 9.

According to interviews given by Richards earlier this year, 2017 is the last in a 5 year contract the promoter had with Live Nation which saw him at the helm of the brand and its crown jewel event Holy Ship after HARD was purchased by Live Nation back in 2012.  In a recent interview, Richards sounded less than optimistic about contract negotiations, saying he’d reached “the end” with the company.

Richards continued, saying:

“there are other forces at play here that are running the electronic scene in different directions than me, and they kind of battle with me and that part of it’s not fun  — and it’s unnecessary.”

Though HARD has branched out into a series of festivals and shows, the Ship has remained one of the most cherished events in dance music due to its intimate atmosphere and, largely, the efforts of Richards himself. Many of the artists who’ve been featured on the ship were given attention and a platform on the HARD bill at crucial breaking points in their careers.

Now, in a show of solidarity, sources are reporting that those artists are pulling out of contracts to perform Holy Ship. Many are allegedly unwilling to participate in the event without Richards at the helm.

Though this information comes from sources close to the brands in question, neither company has responded to requests for statements at the time of publication. It is worth nothing that Holy Ship has yet to release an official lineup, despite releasing that information in May or June in many / previous / years.

As of publication, neither Live Nation, HARD, nor Gary Richards have responded to requests for comment, but the rumors have already begun to rock through the Holy Ship community—who have already started a petition and a hashtag #NoGaryNoShip. Sign it, here.

 

We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. 

 

UPDATE:

Richards posted the following statement on his personal Facebook:

 

To all the HARDfam & Shipfam :

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. Accordingly, I will not be attending or curating the next Holy Ship cruise event in 2018. I have the utmost respect for Michael Rapino and Live Nation.Let’s make this week’s 10th anniversary show the best HARD event ever! – Gary Richards AKA Destructo

This statement is of course a stark contrast to the rumors currently circulating, and the kind of civil response one might imagine would come from someone amidst a high profile business split — especially if there are new opportunities being pursued underneath the controversy. That said, if Richards indeed has an “incredible new opportunity” in the works, this can be taken as reassurance that the beloved figure will continue to play a large role in the electronic sphere regardless of where his alliances lie. Hopefully, some more light will be shed in the foreseeable future as to what the rave magnate has in store.
One thing is for certain: his confirmed absence at Holy Ship has already sent somber shock waves throughout the community. Comments on the original post are pouring in from fans expressing their undying support and wishes that he will be able to attend the annual affair last minute.

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