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Hard founder Gary Richards named LiveStyle pres

After five years with Live Nation, DJ Destructo has joined Randy Phillips at the SFX Entertainment successor, where he will head up its North American festival business

By Jon Chapple on 05 Sep 2017

L–R: LiveStyle's Chuck Ciongoli, Randy Phillips, Gary Richards and Michael Julian at Electric Zoo 2017

L–R: LiveStyle's Chuck Ciongoli, Randy Phillips, Gary Richards and Michael Julian at Electric Zoo

Hard Events founder Gary Richards has been appointed president, North America, of LiveStyle, joining Randy Phillips at SFX MkII following his departure from Live Nation early last month.

In the newly created role, Richards – for a decade the driving force behind the Hard festival brand (Hard Summer, Holy Ship!, Hard Australia), and arguably the most famous promoter in electronic dance music – will oversee LiveStyle’s US festival operations, including Electric Zoo, its flagship event in New York.

“When Chuck Ciongoli and I took over the former SFX, the global leader in electronic music festivals and the parent company of Beatport, 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,” says LiveStyle CEO Randy Phillips, who joined the company last November. “To complete our executive suite, we wanted to bring some real authenticity to the management of LiveStyle, and no single candidate to be the president of North America fulfils this role better than Gary Richards, of Hard and Holy Ship! fame.

“In fact, this is a delayed goal for me, since I tried to make a deal with Gary ten years ago while I was running AEG Live. Not only is he an accomplished working DJ (DJ Destructo), 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 adds: “Randy Phillips has been a trailblazer in the music and entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. Having known Randy personally for many years, I’m excited that the stars have aligned and I’m able to build a new platform for live music with him. I look forward to coming on board as president of LiveStyle and have a much larger role to play in the music community.

“This is a delayed goal for me, since I tried to make a deal with Gary ten years ago while I was running AEG Live”

“Their portfolio of brands, such as React, Made Event/Electric Zoo, DDP and Beatport to name a few, is an incredible place to start from and build. In addition, I plan to create new festival concepts and cruises at LiveStyle. We will continue on the path that I created with the Hard and Holy Ship! brands.”

Richards told Variety in April there had been “positive and negative” aspects to Hard’s relationship with Live Nation, by which it was acquired in 2012. “I think that Hard has grown by leaps and bounds and Live Nation has given me a platform to expand monetarily in things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I was funding everything,” he said. “But, then again, there are other forces at play here that are running the electronic scene in different directions [to] me, and they kind of battle with me and that part of it’s not fun – and it’s unnecessary.”

He also reportedly had a fierce rivalry with Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella, whose company was bought by Live Nation the following year.

LiveStyle Inc., formed last September from the ashes of Robert Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment, is the world’s largest promoter of electronic music festivals.

Sillerman, who led SFX into a messy bankruptcy in February 2016, is now CEO of online news company Function(x), which was recently delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange amid allegations of alleged unauthorised withdrawals of company funds by Sillerman.


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