As the sunset turned a shade of pink lemonade and Classixx’s synthy sound rang out over San Diego’s Waterfront Park on Saturday night, the freshman CRSSD Fest fully came into its own. In this moment, the idea of a beachy vibe festival on the water stacked with off kilter, underground electronic acts became a reality and set itself apart from anything we’ve experienced.
The beautiful babes and bros of California were out in force, showing off fancy footwork to vibrant Hot Natured, Flight Facilities and Chromeo live acts at the main stage and deeper, more seductive sets by Maceo Plex, Justin Martin and Klangkarussell at the two DJ focused stages.
Surroundings of the sunkissed Pacific Ocean and simmering Downtown San Diego glowed gold during the pipin hot days with cold brews and flower-adorned mixed libations flowing as strong as the dancers and chillers finding their groove throughout the brand new park.
A brainchild of SD party promoters FNGRS CRSSD and Coachella mega promoter Goldenvoice, CRSSD Fest proved itself quickly to its anxious partygoers ready to kick off festival season and get their bass tan on for the summer scene.
Content is key in anything successful and CRSSD set itself up for success, booking a slate of artists that could fly by the seat of their pants in dancey deep and tech house sets, and with live synth pop juggernauts that know how to bring the energy, spectacles and surprises for a memorable performance.
Instead of riding the wave of an EDM festival bubble that is close to bursting, this festival created a new style complimenting the refined tastes of the electronic blogosphere and indie-dance niches.
Beach Bass Beauties
Fountains of Youth at Waterfront Park
Acts like Flight Facilities, Odesza and Classixx that haven’t had many chances to rock a mainstage set jumped at the opportunity and elevated their already highly respected rockstar status. The Ibizan vibes dripped out the speakers from the City Steps and Palm stages with b2b sets from Simian Mobile Disco/Roman Flugel, Seth Troxler/Jamie Jones and Viceroy/Bixel Boys to name a few.
We all had something vivid and great to listen to from start to finish, coming together at the end of each night to share stories of the legendary moments throughout the gleaming day and glowing evening.
The Hits & Highlights
The overall feeling from my friends and many of the people I spoke with in the crowd felt that Hot Natured put on the show of the festival. I expected great things but what I got was overwhelmingly wild artistry, performance and delivery.
The full band and multiple singer additions headlined by the musical muse Anabel Englund was the thing that really made this act stand out. We knew that Lee Foss, Jamie Jones and company had greatness awaiting behind their blend of cosmic disco and deep house rock. They were all over the place in styles but it blended perfectly.
I think its safe to say that “Reverse Skydiving” was definitely the anthem of the weekend and seeing “Isis” and “Benediction” live was a damn tasty treat.
The sun setting on the San Diego harbor while Classixx played Psychic City was something I can’t get out of my head. I’ve seen them three times since Coachella 2014 and with each performance the scope and size have increased tenfold.
As I mentioned, groups like Classixx haven’t had many chances to take their act to the grand heights of a mainstage and they graciously seized the day as it turned to night. Their lush, synth pulsing anthems had us all smiling ear to ear and cooled us off after a long day in the searing sun.
Goldroom was many CRSSD goers first show of the weekend, and he and his full band delivered the socal vibes that we all came for.
Groups of friends came together, finally meeting up after a long awaited festival season reunion. Shirtless bros hugged fresh sunscreen off each other and the beautiful beach babe’s flash-tattoos glittered in the warm embracing sunshine.
“Sweetness Alive” and “Fifteen” were just too good for the soul to see with a live band and gorgeous live vocal. Josh Legg (aka Goldroom) started his career DJing but has since grown this act into a full live performance. I am very excited to watch him continue to grow and release his debut album later this year.
One of the most unique qualities of CRSSD amongst the throng of rave-centric events was the back-to-back sets from some of the best electronic has to ever.
The tech house gods smiled down upon the two hour plus set shakers vibing to Maceo Plex and Shall Ocin at the end of the fest. Earlier in the day the punch was spiked and things got wiggly to Seth Troxler and Jamie Jones.
Seth’s moves inspired the crowd of rambunctious house heads without a care of the work week that awaited.
The Aussie’s had one last show on their US tour and they made it count. This was arguably the biggest stage they’ve ever performed on, and as I watched them blend together pieces of their incredible 2014 album with live vocals to boot, I couldn’t help but have flashes to a younger Daft Punk.
There is something going on in the sounds and soul of these young musicians that will continue to reach for something that is more than just music. Again the sunset complimented the set perfectly and watching planes land at the SD Airport behind the stage was too surreal and ironic for its own good.
The deeper side of tropical house has a new champion in hometown beach bumper SNBRN. The Manhattan Beach local knows the good life and has the ear for creating a damn great day party.
He owned the crowd with remixes of Duke Dumont’s “Need U (100%)” and “Return of the Mack” before dropping my new favorite jammer of 2015, his original beach house anthem “Raindrops”.
Fresh Squeezed Festival
This babe of a festival definitely stood out from the busy calendar of fests and events that have come to be annual highlights in our lives. We welcome the new and celebrate the old, cleaning out our closet of the ones that have run their course or gotten repetitive, and made room for the fresh faces.
This rookie is an instant all-star, boasting a lineup blossoming with true dance favorites and loving grooving fans.
I loved the crowd - truly. You guys sang it out, you were courteous and gave some stinging high fives.
With 15,000 in attendance, the age limit I think ended up attracting more than deflecting. Attendees saw this as a chance to be amongst a well versed group of tastemakers and fans that appreciated the tunes and not the party.
We were respected by CRSSD and in turn we respected it back. This was a paradise oasis of great tunage and I can’t wait to watch another sunset at Waterfront Park with you all next year.
Photography by Asa Moore & Skyler Green Photography