They say that there’s a first time for everything, but what they leave out is that the first time is typically unpredictable, difficult to maneuver, and ultimately imperfect when it comes to most major endeavors. For that reason, we were completely blown away by the first-ever CRSSD Festival in San Diego on March 14 and 15.
The event was organized by some of the best in the business, Goldenvoice, LED Presents, and Fingers Crossed, and hosted by leading dance music taste makers Mixmag, Pete Tong, KCRW, Bang Bang, and Sound Night Club. Besides a few minor logistical mishaps, CRSSD Fest left us (and from what we saw, the rest of its attendees) in complete awe. Not only did it beat the odds for a first-time festival, but it set the bar unbelievably high for all subsequent CRSSDs as well as dance festivals in general.
For those who weren’t fortunate enough to make it to the event, below are LessThan3‘s top 10 reasons why we’re in love with CRSSD Festival, including a few performance highlights. See you next year!
1. The Affordable Price
Presale tickets started at just $85, a total steal for a stacked two-day festival. While the price did increase as lower tiers sold out, even the most expensive rate was certainly worth the experience. Goldenvoice: if you’re reading this, please keep in that way in the years to come!
2. The San Diego Weather
High of 90 and low of 70 degrees Fahrenheit all weekend…need I say more?
3. The Breathtaking Scenery
The only thing better than beautiful music is a beautiful setting to hear it in, and I’m not talking about high-tech light shows and CO2. With an open view of the glorious San Diego harbor, prime California sunsets behind the Ocean View Live stage, and palm trees majestically standing above it all, the festival was truly a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.
4. Waterfront Park’s Fountains
There’s just something about water fountains (and water parks in general) that inspires adults to re-discover the fun-loving children within them, and that was evident in the masses of “adults” playing in the fountains throughout both days. Although they seem minuscule, the fountains were definitely a game changer at CRSSD.
5. The Organization
While the lines were a bit congested on day one and there were instances of water/beer running out, we must recognize that as a first-year festival, CRSSD’s organization could have been a lot worse. Advantages included ease of jumping from stage to stage when acts overlapped, a general lack of lines at the bathrooms, and relatively spacious room to dance at each stage.
6. The Crowd
Festival attendees arrived from all parts of California and beyond for the sole purpose of hearing the music they love, and that was truly evident throughout the crowd at every stage. It was rare to witness over-drugged, aggressive, or rude individuals…”good vibes only” seemed to be a fitting motto for all.
7. The 21+ Age Restriction
21 and over means no need to stand in line for wristbands after you’ve already stood in line to get into the festival. Then, no need to stand in line to get into the beer garden, and in many cases, no need to consequently stand in line to actually buy your beer. Beer for everyone, everywhere! Sorry kiddos, but that’s definitely a plus in our book.
8. Jason Bentley’s Music Wheel Of Fortune
Between each set at the Ocean View Live stage, esteemed KCRW host Jason Bentley picked someone from the audience to spin the “wheel of fortune,” which would determine what type of music he’d play before the next set. Options included tropical house, trance anthems, ’90s R&B, all Daft Punk, drum & bass, G-house, and less popular picks like “EDM anthems” and “David Guetta on repeat.” The wheel was a genius way to liven the silence and general lack of enthusiasm between festival sets, and it was quite interesting to see the difference in crowd reaction towards the featured genres.
9. The After Parties
Although Pete Tong unfortunately fell ill before the All Gone Pete Tong Boat Party following day 1, Wax Motif and Thomas Jack gallantly took the wheel and kept the party going strong with an energy-fueled B2B set. Other after parties included Damian Lazarus at Bang Bang on March 14, as well as Trippy Turtle, Chromeo, Seth Troxler, and Bicep at various San Diego venues on March 15.
10. Most Importantly: The Music.
The best part about CRSSD was that it was a sign of positive change in the music industry. It was a sign that just maybe, grimy deep/tech house may no longer be confined to the walls of industrial warehouses and mainstream “EDM” may no longer dominate at large scale festivals. The performances at CRSSD were not only innovative and of the highest quality, but they were also deeply inspiring for advocates of what was once considered the underground. We’ve listed just a few of the stand out acts below.
Best house set: Amtrac.
Best indie/dance performance: Goldroom.
Best tropical house set: Thomas Jack.
Most spiritual performance: Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons.
Best hip hop/future R&B set: Kaytranada.
Best deep/tech set: Maceo Plex B2B Shall Ocin.
Best funk performance: Chromeo.
Best live & vocal performance: Lido.
Best fashion statement: Anabel Englund. Still drooling.