With yet another sold-out event, this past weekend’s CRSSD Festival not only proved to be financially successful but also cemented its place within America’s ever-popular festival circuit.
Being the newcomer on the block, CRSSD Fest has for the past year tried to build a reputation for gathering true music lovers by forgoing the usual popular acts and instead bolstered lineups with lesser known house, techno, and indie-electronica artists. 2016’s first edition of the festival introduced colder temperatures and seemingly more fans, but the same welcoming atmosphere and quality of music remained. While attending CRSSD’s third iteration, it was hard not to spot similarities with a much larger and prominent festival that is only a few weeks away.
1. Platform for upcoming and foreign artists
Headliners aside, Coachella has since its inception been a place for new or unknown bands to gain exposure to larger audiences. CRSSD, in a similar fashion, has geared its bookings towards smaller artists and DJs. This past weekend’s lineup saw popular, yet relative novices Tycho, Hi-Lo and Gryffin all garner a spot on the mainstage rather than a small side tent they might be accustomed to, which allowed them to perform to the event’s thousands of attendants. CRSSD Fest’s DJ bookings, on the other hand, gave acts that rarely come to this side of the States an opportunity to show off their prowess. Cassian, Ben UFO, and Julio Bashmore, all of whom require work visas, were among the notable sets that occurred over the weekend. This is evidence that promoters FNGRS CRSSD look toward forward-thinking acts versus the “cash-cows” that so often occupy America’s festival lineups.
2. The venue showcases California’s beauty
Every CRSSD write-up is not complete without acknowledging the beauty of its venue, Waterfront Park. Reiterating this fact might become boring to some but once you’ve experienced a sunset lying on the grass soundtracked by your favorite DJ, it will never get old. Production value is kept to a minimum with the three stages (Palms, City Steps, Ocean View Line) being the only signs of real investment by the promoters. However, with a backdrop consisting of San Diego’s downtown skyline on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, not much else is needed. The Polo Fields of Coachella might characterize California’s oasis in the desert but CRSSD’s Waterfront Park is truly the bay front property you have always dreamed of owning.
3. CRSSD attracts an eclectic mix of festival-goers
In the same way Coachella appeals to a wide variety of music lovers of all ages so does CRSSD Fest in that even though the festival is a 21+ event, aficionados of various backgrounds come to enjoy the San Diego boutique experience. CRSSD’s mix of indie acts and underground DJs allows for a diverse crowd of followers whose tastes might not directly align but whose common appreciation for music is apparent. Pineapple adorned Holy Ship! faithful can be seen rubbing elbows with black-clad techno gurus alongside 90’s rave OG’s curious to see what kids consider dance music these days. The festival welcomes them all and provides a comfortable atmosphere. While the music is the focal point of the party, it’s the participation and enthusiasm of the crowd that makes CRSSD Fest so unique.
4. There’s great food and beverage choice!
Long gone are the days where chicken tenders and hot dogs are considered normal festival fare. These days, promoters are aware that a more health-conscious public demand choices that coincide with their current diet. For this year’s March edition, CRSSD offered a plethora of healthy dishes with several vendors that included acai bowls, vegan wraps, and our personal favourite, fried tofu squares. We had the chance to try a number of items and can say that healthy can also mean delicious. Being a 21+ event, CRSSD delivered premium alcohol choices along with a few signature twists on classic cocktails and craft brewed beer. Suffice to say, we did not go hungry or thirsty at this festival.
5. The perfect festival weather
With colder climates and a chance of rain being forecasted before the festival, many were worried of a torrential downpour that would ruin their plans of a sun-soaked weekend. Needless to say, a chilly breeze and a slight drizzle on Saturday night did sweep the lawns of Waterfront Park but nothing to the extent of which ruined any one of my friends’ experiences. San Diego is a city blessed with great year-round temperatures. El Nino might have made little cameo during the event but he was there to enjoy the vibes like many of us were. With days filled with sunshine and nights lit up with stars, CRSSD Fest seemed to embody the Southern Californian weather that most of the country is envious of.
6. The whopping crowds
Popularity is at an all-time high for the festival and it was clear with the entrance lines that CRSSD Festival has become the premier winter event in Southern California. With waits ranging from 45 minutes to one hour during peak entry times, one wonders whether the promoters will consider a second entrance to alleviate the bottle neck situation with the estimated 12 thousand guests. A similar circumstance can be said for the bathroom lines. Like most festivals, CRSSD underestimated the number of porta potties needed for all the attendants as the entry waiting continued inside when nature called. Fortunately however, lines were not a problem for food, drinks, or finding an adequate space on the dance floor.
( All pictures courtesy : xlr8.com and CRSSD)