CRSSD Fest, a two-day festival along the waterfront in downtown San Diego, returned to the beautiful city for its Fall 2017 event this past weekend. This event, still only a few years old, has been a favorite among a few of our writers here at EDMTunes since it kicked off as it has continually brought together some of the most heavy-hitting top tier electronic music artists – particularly in the house and techno realm. Needless to say, this edition of the event managed to knock our musical expectations out of the water yet again.
To start, let’s take a quick glimpse at some of the names who graced this event’s lineup and absolutely killed it: Dixon, Hot Since 82, The Black Madonna, Kink, Latmun, Dena Amy, Cut Copy and Rufus Du Sol – just to name a few. This was easily one of the most well-curated lineups catering to house and techno that we’ve seen in Southern California in a long time.
There are easily too many sets that left us stunned and beyond content to be able to discuss each individually, but we’ll point out a few highlights…
First, we’ll cut to the (techno) chase: Sunday night’s two-hour performance by Richie Hawtin was, hands down, the best set of the weekend in our eyes. He is a truly talented musician that knows how to sway a dance floor as he progresses through each of his tracks. His minimal techno soothes souls – and it did exactly that. We would not have picked any other DJ from this lineup to close out such an amazing weekend, and he knocked all of our expectations out of the water.
Tech house also played a heavy role at CRSSD this year, as the daytime was filled with it. Saturday afternoon saw two hours of pure tech house gold from Latmun‘s hour-long set of pure jams followed by a takeover by Solardo at the City Steps stage. Sunday saw an epic set from Prok & Fitch and, although the sun was a bit too unbearable at this point, the music was not. Fisher, an artist new to the legendary DIRTYBIRD label, brought the same tech house love to The Palms stage later that afternoon.
The Black Madonna did what she does best at The Palms on Sunday evening. Shortly after the sun set, she threw down one of her notorious nu-disco, funk house sets filled with some of the most eclectic and entertaining samples that we’d never heard. If there’s a single woman out there who knows how to rock a crowd with a track, it’s her.
Rufus Du Sol and Dixon are both, of course, notable mentions as they closed out Saturday night at Ocean View and City Steps respectively. A live set from Rufus always brings a mass of dedicated fans ready and willing to sing along, and that they did – it was easily the most crowded show of the weekend as the trio performed their much-loved, soothingly melodic hits like “Innerbloom” and “Like An Animal.” Dixon traveled down a different path by taking his touch of techno to an entirely new level with a two-hour set – one that was way too challenging to walk away from.
As this was our second cumulative CRSSD Fest, it was fantastic to see such a great lineup – but any festival typically has its setbacks, and CRSSD had one in particular: the trash.
The extremely high volume of trash scattered across the venue was a painful sight as we left the venue each night. As the music shut off and fans began to return home, you could hear the crunching of the bottles and cups that had been left behind. And as the crowds cleared away, stretches of trash-covered grass became apparent. The trash cans, which were few and far in between, were dark green tents that not only blended in with the surrounding structures but also were clearly disguised to not look like trash cans. They were challenging to find, resulting in attendees leaving their trash wherever they found easiest.
Part of this, we found, was likely due to their strict rules and setup around water. There was only one water refill station within the entire venue – and even with that, festival organizers had strict rules around reusable water bottles that you could carry in with you. The CRSSD website reads that Fans are permitted one 24oz Nalgene style clear bottle for refills. No Camelbaks or bladders will be allowed at entry.
Sure, this isn’t a full-fledged camping festival so Camelbaks are likely less common, but not everyone owns a 24oz clear water bottle. Many of us have our staple festival water bottles that are our ride-or-dies – for example, my 80oz blue Hydroflask that I can fill a few times throughout the day with water that will stay cold for hours. Instead, CRSSD forced those without a fitting water bottle to pay $3 to purchase a 12oz bottle of water, likely multiple times throughout each day.
This overabundance of trash and lack of well-placed trashcans was a problem, as many attendees may remember, at CRSSD’s last event as well. We do, however, have high hopes that the festival will find alternative ways to make trash gathering easier for attendees, such as more easily findable trashcans and more openness about allowing reusable water bottles to be carried in. A simple combination like this could not only lessen the amount of trash that CRSSD workers later have to spend hours gathering but also save the environment with the amount of plastic that must be dealt with.
All in all, CRSSD Fest has a talent that many festivals have not mastered yet – their ability to build a lineup of talented artists and a schedule in which each set complements each other as they flow through the day.
After two days of dancing, we’re still not fully recovered yet – but we’re already looking forward to the next event.