The amount of moving parts that go into a music festival is staggering. From the meat and potatoes like the location and lineup to smaller things like lines and water, it’s a rare occasion to find everything dialed in, especially out of the gate. Which is why it’s nothing short of a modern miracle that San Diego’s inaugural CRSSD Festival went off as flawlessly as it did.
Any new location has it’s pros and cons but I’d be hard pressed to point out anything even remotely wrong with San Diego’s Waterfront Park. In fact, with the possibly the exception of San Francisco’s Treasure Island, this might be one of the most ideal locations around. Nestled right on the water in Little Italy, the venue had picturesque views nearly everywhere you looked and, while the weekend was nice and warm, the park had refreshing fountains that got a workout by many in attendance.
The crowd was equally as gorgeous, with seemingly just as many out of towners as local San Diegans. The hot temperatures brought out some early seasonal summer wear from most attendees, of which we certainly won’t be complaining about.
And the lineup. You might as well call CRSSD the anti-EDC because, while the festival was nearly all electronic, it skewed much further towards the underground and live than dubstep.
With three stages going simultaneously, time conflicts were a real scenario and it seems that nearly everyone had their own itinerary for the weekend. The lineup also featured a handful of unique b2b DJ sets paired the likes of Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler; Simian Mobile Disco and Roman Flugel and several others for added exclusivity.
Saturday standout performances (that we saw) included STRFKR, James Murphy, AMTRAC and, of course, Empire of the Sun, whom seemed to really have the whole glam-pop-from-space thing dialed in pretty well by now.
Sunday highlights included a handful of one-man shows from Lido and the ridiculously talented Robert DeLong as well as headlining performances from Chromeo, Odesza and Flight Facilities. Unfortunate travel plans put a pin in the night early for us, but I was told Chromeo delivered in spades, keeping everyone moving past their bedtimes late on Sunday.
KCRW’s own Jason Bentley worked the mic and turntables in between sets on the main stage, of which also featured a wheel of tunes that would dictate the style of music, including some wonderful 90s R&B that seemed to strike a chord with the audience.
Couple all of the above with a huge variety of San Diego’s finest non-Heineken beer, which could be enjoyed without gated-in beer tents (take that Coachella!), and you really have one of the most well-rounded festivals these eyes and ears have ever experienced.
With Coachella just around the corner, it’s easy to dismiss CRSSD as a warmup endeavor, but the near unanimously positive reviews ranging from VICE to the LA Times (and Restless Cities 😉 stand to prove that these guys did their homework and legwork to make sure the weekend was a smash.
We can only hope and pray that FNGRS CRSSD have some more festivals up their sleeves for this awesome location, as a once a year ordeal just might not be enough. Good vibes, great beer, beautiful people, awesome music; if you have a better weekend planned for 2016 I’d like to hear it.