With new festivals spawning in all corners of the United States and abroad, it’s easy for an event to fly under the radar, but San Diego’s CRSSD Festival harnessed our attention with its outstanding music programming, gorgeous venue, and more. After an anxious few months, the long-awaited festival finally descended upon the bay front park, and thousands upon thousands attended to experience a summery soirée helmed by some of the world’s finest producer/DJs and musicians like Maceo Plex, Chromeo, Hot Natured, Robert Delong, GDD™ homies Thomas Jack, Viceroy, Bixel Boys, and SNBRN, amongst others. By now, you’ve probably heard that CRSSD Festival was a great success, but in our minds, it was the perfect way to kick off festival season.
Hear about our experiences on each day after the jump.
On the first day of the festival, the excitement was brewing and the sun was pounding. After a brief stint in line, we quickly made our way over to main stage to catch Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons, passing through the other two stages, various vendors, and some water fountains along the way. Although Damian’s sound is more suitable for darker environments, he still took the crowd deep into his fresh catalog of psychedelic house music for a set that teetered a line between festival gem and tribal ritual.
Following Damian, we stopped by the City Steps stage for the veteran, DJ Harvey, on the way to say hello to Thomas Jack. In true Harvey fashion, he kept it funky and groovy, setting a nostalgic vibe with disco cuts that were a perfect complement to the warm weather and ocean views. Much like Harvey, Thomas Jack fit the bill for a quintessential daytime set, weaving through his crowd-pleasing house jams drenched in tropical elements.
As the sun started to go down, we were stage hopping between Classixx, Pete Tong, and Aeroplane, but once the night was in full force, we switched it up and saw Giraffage lay down a high-energy set that kept the more bass-inclined fans on their jumping feet. Even after all of this excellent music, there was still more to come.
We ended our night with the one and only Lee Burridge. With a seamless set featuring his signature brand of melancholic deep and tech, the All Day I Dream mastermind was undeniably on point, and we couldn’t have asked for a better closer for a successful day 1.
Luckily, the crowd and the sweltering heat subsided just enough for what would be an epic Sunday at CRSSD Fest. As we walked in we we’re graced by a wedding reception dance party curated by Bixel Boys and Viceroy. They played out back to back heaters, which included everything from Chris Lake’s charmingly tech “Uptown Funk” remix, to the throwback Duck Sauce “aNYway” vibes, to classic hip-hop cuts. Remember the last time a B2B festy set ended with a reggae jam? Me neither.
Across the way, George Maple wowed a panel of onlookers with her brooding live arrangement. Her performance was remarkably well put-together, and she even gave us a taste of her forthcoming collaboration track with What So Not, apparently titled “Gemini.”
Perhaps my underdog favorite performance from the entire festival was Robert DeLong’s live extravaganza. The quirky producer is known for his mastery of unique controllers and sounds, going so far as to modify old school game controllers as pitch-benders. At one point, the noise got so heavy that he shorted out the entire stage, requiring a brief intermission to revive the sound. “Global Concepts” crushed the crowd as he finished his set. The tribal-moombah vibes were a nice change of pace in a heavily 4/4 festival soundscape.
Other noteworthy performances from Sunday included riveting live shows from Flight Facilities and Odesza, an gem of a deep underground set from Hot Creations’ Patrick Topping, a rare dual Lido/Trippy Turtle day, and a brain rattling B2B war from Maceo Plex and Shall Ocin.
The peak of the evening, in my opinion, was a legendary B2B set from two legendary producers. Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones laid down one of the sickest sets of the weekend, mixing vinyl and digital, spanning decades of house, techno and soul cuts. There’s truly a remarkable difference in the vibe when such experienced DJs hop on the decks. What’s better, it all went down in one of the most beautiful festival locations I’ve attended.
Thanks to FNGRS CRSSD for throwing one of the sickest festivals of the year, such a great way to kick off the season. You all can definitely be assured that round two isn’t far around the corner.