Picture Credit: Daniela Becerra / @killedwithkindness

One of the most anticipated new years events this past weekend was the inaugural festival: PROPER NYE, hosted by San Diego based house & techno event producers FNGRS CRSSD. Best known for their highly regarded bi-annual (spring and fall) festival CRSSD, this was a highly curated, two-day, three stage event, which brought over 20 of house and techno’s music’s biggest and most in-demand names to Gallagher Square and the field at Petco Park for a dual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebration. The lineup included festival favorite heavy hitters like Chris Lake, John Summit and Kaskade as well as newer, up-and-coming artists and alias like Hi-Lo (Oliver Helden’s techno alias) Mau P and Sohmi.

Photo by Daniela Becerra / @killedwithkindness

Despite unfavorable weather all weekend, crowds turned up en mass and the sun did peak out every once in a while. Ponchos, large coats and rain jackets were the norm when walking around the festival grounds; and there were even a few umbrellas! There was an on and off drizzle for most of the two days and the worst of the weather was during the New Years countdown, which was not ideal. Even so, large crowds closed out both nights and there was a mad dash for the afterparties shortly after.

Photo by Daniela Becerra / @killedwithkindness
Photo by  Felicia Garcia / @fixationphotography

The Venue

Photo by Rachael Polack / @rachlpolack

Petco Park is a beautiful venue and a stadium normally used for Major League Baseball. The space is huge and designed to handle large crowds of people in various states of sobriety. The bathrooms were large, clean and had plenty of amenities. It was also extremely easy to get to (being in the city itself) so there wasn’t a need for long car rides, and public transportation was nearby. Food was plentiful and workers were very nice. I never had to wait too long for any refreshments, and there was always a bar nearby (except when you were on the field).

Photo of Field Stage by  Felicia Garcia / @fixationphotography
Photo of Park Stage by  Felicia Garcia / @fixationphotography
Photo of Terrace Stage by Daniela Becerra / @killedwithkindness

There were three stages. The main field stage was in the stadium itself, with the main baseball diamond covered and blocked off. The park stage was in a grassy area with some hills, trees, and extra portapotties and bars so you didn’t have to walk all the way back to the stadium just to use the bathroom or get a drink. Finally there was a very small stage tucked away on the terrace which was a bit hidden. It was always an adventure trying to find the stage. But, it was always packed during peak festival hours.

The Production

Given that this was a New Years Eve festival, it was expected that the stage designs, lighting production and sound quality would be top tier and FNGRS CRSSD did not disappoint. With stages that were reminiscent of the stages at ARC festival in Chicago, it was a perfect set up for house and techno. Lasers, strobes, and well placed LED screens and artistic physical rigs were in lockstep with the pounding bass and kicks of the music that it was synced with. The speakers were loud and the placement of stages kept sound bleed minimal. This complimented the stacked lineup perfectly.

Photo of Field Stage by  Felicia Garcia / @fixationphotography
Photo of Park Stage by Rachael Polack / @rachlpolack

Overall

The festival was an overwhelmingly positive experience and I was able to snag an iconic FNGRS CRSSD bomber jacket in white that says “House x Techno” on it. People were nice, the festival was easily accessible and the production was top tier. The event staff were also seasoned and professional. Knowing that no one can control the weather, I won’t hold that against the festival for raining — I still had an amazing time! My only critique here is that some more thought could have been given to the set order for the main stage on day one. It felt quite jarring to go from John Summit and Dombresky — two very high energy tech house sets, into Lane 8 — a much more vibey deep house set, and then back to a higher energy tech house set like Chris Lake. While I understand there may have been other factors at work, I could tell the crowd felt a bit of whiplash during this transition. Speaking of Chris Lake, I would like to give him a shoutout for cutting the music in the middle of his set to make sure someone who was having a medical emergency got the help they needed. A class act! Take care of each other out there and see you at the next fest!