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CRSSD San Diego Review

CRSSD San Diego Review

Review by: Bryan Deng

After the inaugural CRSSD festival in March, this underground, indie, and deep house festival in downtown San Diego has started making waves among festival-goers across the nation. Was it the killer lineup that caused all the hype or the fact that it was held in a waterfront park? After spending a weekend in San Diego soaking up the sun, listening to fantastic music, and playing in fountains, it makes sense why the FNGRS CRSSD promotion company decided to throw another festival just 7 months after the first. They have a good thing going here and it’s easy to see why.

Photo credit: Matt Kim

Photo credit: Matt Kim

Getting There

Getting to the Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego was very simple. With multiple hotels right across the street, you had the option to stay within walking distance to the festival. The central location allowed festival goers to get dropped off easily nearby. I stayed in the Ocean Beach area which was only a 15 minute drive away. As far as street parking, there did not seem to be many options in the downtown area.

Capacity

The great thing about this festival was the size. With only 15,000-18,000 people in attendance, you never felt it was too cramped, even at the front you had enough space to dance without getting pushed around. It also meant that I was always running into the same people throughout the whole weekend. It made it seem more like an urban block party instead of a large scale festival.

Photo credit: Bryan Deng

Photo credit: Bryan Deng

Venue

The Waterfront Park seemed to be the perfect venue for a festival of this size. Three music stages were set up in line along a wide and flat park space. Large standalone awnings in front of the stages provided much needed shade during the day. While the middle stage might have gotten some sound bleed from the other stages, beautiful surroundings more than made up for it. Between the Star of India ship from San Diego’s Maritime Museum on one side, the city administration building on the other, and a cruise ship across the harbor, there was plenty to look at besides the stages. There were also the fountain jets that cascaded into ankle-deep pools that you could splash around in. Last but not least palm trees. Palm trees everywhere.

Photo Credit: Bryan Deng

Photo Credit: Bryan Deng

Photo Credit: Bryan Deng

Photo Credit: Bryan Deng

Crowd

The fact that this was a 21+ event made a huge difference in my enjoyment of the festival. Everyone was respectful of each other, there weren’t many outlandish outfits, and overall people seemed more mature and sober yet carefree and enjoying themselves to the fullest. People came there to dance and have fun with friends, not to get totally hammered and spun out on drugs.

Food

The local food vendors offered standard festival fare like iced coffee, ice cream, pizza, burgers, fries, and BBQ. Beer and liquor was on the expensive side, about $10-12 per drink which is to be expected at a festival this size. There were only two large bars and one beer tent manned by 6-10 bartenders each, so lines did form during the later hours. Fortunately I never had to wait more than 10 minutes to get a drink.

Things To Do

There wasn’t much else to do except bask in the beautiful surroundings, listen to great music, and dance. You could join a shufflers circle if that’s your thing. When the sun got too hot, you could do the limbo under the fountains to cool off. When you got tired, you could hang out in the grass between stages or sit on park benches on the side. People watching was always entertaining. With the nonstop amazing music acts all day it was actually difficult to find a minute to take a break.

What Makes This Festival Different?

Location: San Diego itself is a relatively small yet beautiful city and being at a festival in the center of it made for a marvelous experience. Watching the sunset over the ocean while planes touched down in the nearby airport was a breathtaking sight unmatched by few. While the weather was uncharacteristically hot during the day (even locals were complaining), once the sun went down it was the perfect temperature. The southern California climate combined with the amazing venue, music, and people, and you have a festival that is uniquely awesome and easily enjoyable.

Security presence: I felt this was worth mentioning because it did seem stronger than what I was used to. Search upon entry was thorough and as a non-smoking event, all cigarettes were completely banned. If security saw someone smoking they were quickly reprimanded to put it out. Security was also very adamant in keeping people with drinks and food out of the fountain pools. In this sense I was thankful for them, as you didn’t want to be dancing in the pools only to step on someone’s spilled food or drink.

All about the music: There weren’t any fancy art installations or scheduled activities outside of the music acts. This festival was all about amazing music in a beautiful venue filled with beautiful people. Every DJ put on their best tracks to fit the mood of the hour. Best sets on Saturday: Cashmere Cat b2b Trippy Turtle, Bonobo, Jamie XX closeout. Best sets on Sunday: Claptone, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (favorite of the weekend), Nicolas Jaar closeout.

 

Overall Rating 10/10

Overall I am very impressed with San Diego and it’s new local festival. The organization and execution was solid. The lineup was incredible with rare back to back sets, and a focus on deep house, tech house, and future bounce. It reminded me of the great time I had at the inaugural Mamby on the Beach festival in Chicago this year, and it was the perfect ending to the summer festival season. My only wish was to have it be three days long instead of only two. I sincerely hope to make it out to San Diego again next March as CRSSD has become one of my new favorites.

Bryan at CRSSD

Bryan at CRSSD

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