By Lars Brandle
Originally Published in Billboard on September 5, 2017
It’s official: HARD founder Gary Richards has joined LiveStyle, where he takes duties as president of the EDM promoter’s North America activities.
Richards, who DJs under the moniker Destructo, founded HARD Events in 2007 and has spent the past decade creating and curating the company’s lineup of parties, which include the festivals HARD Summer, HARD Day of the Dead, and the Holy Ship cruise.
In 2012, Live Nation acquired HARD Events and Richards stayed on until August of this year, when he confirmed that his relationship with the live entertainment giant had ended. His jump to LiveStyle was the source of some conjecture at the time.
Randy Phillips, president/CEO of LiveStyle, said Richards was the perfect fit for the company, which emerged out of the troubled electronic music powerhouse SFX Entertainment.
“When Chuck Ciongoli and I took over the former SFX… we rebranded it LiveStyle to signal that a new vibrant business was emerging debt-free with some of the greatest assets in the live entertainment industry,” comments Phillips, the former AEG Live chief who helped lead SFX out of bankruptcy. “To complete our executive suite,” he adds, “we wanted to bring some real authenticity to the management of LiveStyle, and no single candidate to be the president of North America fulfills this role better than Gary Richards.”
Securing the talents of Richards was a ”delayed goal” for Phillips who admits he tried to cut a deal with him 10 years ago when he was running AEG Live. “Not only is he an accomplished working DJ, he is a very astute businessman with an affinity to his fellow artists. With Gary on board, LiveStyle is prepared for creative and strategic growth in the years ahead.”
Richards intends to create new festival concepts and cruises with his new employers. “We will continue on the path that I created with the HARD and Holy Ship brands,” he enthuses in a statement.