“False advertising”: Shipfam rage at Holy Ship over Gary Richards controversy

Punters bound for Holy Ship’s next sailing have lashed out at the event’s organisers on social media, following the controversial news that the festival’s mastermind, Gary ‘Destructo’ Richards, had stepped away from (or been forced out of) parent company HARD.

Richards — who founded HARD Events in 2007 and created Holy Ship in 2012 — confirmed the news on his personal Facebook page this morning, revealing he had taken a position at rival events organisation LiveStyle and would “not be attending or curating the next Holy Ship cruise event in 2018.”

The news didn’t go down well, with high-profile acts like Skrillex and Boys Noize throwing their support behind Richards and circulating a petition calling for his reinstatement.

In an attempt to calm the waters, Holy Ship issued a statement on their Facebook page assuring their famously dedicated fanbase — dubbed the “Shipfam” —  that the 2018 sailing would be “better than ever.” While organisers say they’re “sorry to see Gary’s contract come to an end with Live Nation,” they argue that the spirit of the festival is “bigger than one person and greater than the sum of its parts.”

But the statement didn’t do enough to placate those who had already purchased tickets to the event, with many claiming Holy Ship was being deliberately “shady”, and they had “conned” people in buying tickets based on the proviso that Richards would be performing on and curating the line-up.

“You are using the community, vibes, and event Gary built,” one user wrote. “Payments were made based off a Gary curated line-up. If anyone actually thinks the “artist shipfam” line-up is about to stay the same you are crazy.”

Tickets for Holy Ship went on sale nearly two months ago, but punters have yet to see a line-up. Over the past three years the festival has released its line-up in June or early July, making this year’s announcement very late by comparison — a fact that many took issue with:

The outrage isn’t confined to Facebook. On Twitter, fans are using the #NoGaryNoShip hashtag to voice their anger:

HARD’s flagship event, HARD Summer is due to take place in LA this weekend. There’s been no official word yet on whether HARD Australia — which held events in four cities last year — will return Down Under in 2017.