The bi-annual CRSSD Music Festival made its way back to the beautiful waterfront location in downtown San Diego for Spring 2018. Surrounded by sunshine, palm trees, pirate ships, music, and craft beer, you can’t help but have a smile plastered across your face as you prance around what I am sure is a perfectly curated paradise. Still a relatively new festival, CRSSD impressed once again with a top-notch lineup and fun environment that exceeded my expectations.
Techno and house dominated the weekend. The Palms stage stood out small but powerful with its beautiful setup, covered in eye-catching lush greenery. The City Steps stage stood tall with a shade structure towering over the crowd, sprinkled with fast moving lights that made the night sets boom with colorful visuals. Although I didn’t visit the Ocean View stage much, it was spacious with plenty of room to dance and watch the massive stage light up with flashy production. The small atmosphere of the festival allowed you to watch a lot of music in a short amount of time, one artist flowing right into the next.
Saturday started off the weekend right with Toolroom’s Weiss, the ever so funky Honey Dijon, MK, the entrancing Nora En Pure, Dense & Pika, the legend himself Eric Prydz as Cirez D, and Dirtybird standard Shiba San to name a few. This day was jam-packed with all versions of house music. Back to back at the palms, each act took the stage and dominated. Honey Dijon wowed with some of the best tech house I’ve had the pleasure of watching. It was so incredibly funky and had everyone in the crowd moving more than they had all day. When night fell, things got real when Cirez D took City Steps- I had been waiting for years to see Prydz in his dark techno form and he did not disappoint. Everyone in the crowd had their jaws dropped as he played some of the dirtiest beats I’ve ever heard. Eric Prydz oozes talent and was worth the wait.
Sunday brought some serious heat with Eli Brown, Camelphat, Brazilian techno queen ANNA, Dirtybird favorite Walker & Royce, This Ain’t Bristol’s shining star Kyle Watson, Malaa, Gorgon City and so so much more. But one set that blew me away was Anna Lunoe– this absolute powerhouse took the stage and all eyes were on her. She owned the Palms with this unprecedented electricity that can only be described as awe-inspiring. Much of the crowd had been there at back to back sets for hours and she brought everyone back to life with some hard-hitting house. Kyle Watson was one of the top sets of the day as well, making a massive US debut to a lot of fans (including myself) who have been waiting to see him for a very long time. His set was heavy, melodic, and upbeat all at the same time while carrying consistency.
I have seen many of these artists in the past, but these sets were the most impressive I’ve ever witnessed them perform. They brought their best and showcased it to a crowd who went absolutely wild to every second of it.
However, every festival has its qualms. Once you got there, you were greeted with a very invasive security search. They took my empty refillable water bottle, chapstick, and (expensive) lipstick- their trashcans were FULL of confiscated stuff that looked harmless. I know they are just doing their job but it was a little bit of a buzzkill. They also only had one water refill station in the entire festival… one. This led to buying water all weekend so we could avoid making the long trek to wait in line and refill our water bottles.
The set up of the festival was long and narrow. During the day everything was wide open and spacious, but at night, going place to place got a bit chaotic. The portapotties were a place I avoided at all costs, it was a madhouse. They were over the big water fountains and only had a handful of small bridges leading to them, causing a build-up of rushing people. The plus side- there was a stellar selection of craft beer, wine, and cocktail stands everywhere, taking the edge off of the somewhat stressful experience.
Overall, CRSSD swept me off my feet, swooning me into techno and house oblivion. The music, vibes, and experience were unprecedented, to say the least. I only see this festival growing, getting bigger and better with each passing year. CRSSD delivered one of the best experiences I have ever had and curated a space that is any music lovers dream. This festi-cation was one for the books and I will definitely be making my way back to the waterfront.