This weekend CRSSD festival returned to Waterfront Park in San Diego for its yearly spring edition with Coronavirus scares dominating the news both locally and internationally. Leading up to the weekend the deadly virus made headlines in the festival scene with huge cancellations of Ultra Miami and SXSW coming only days apart. Everyone who had tickets was surely keeping an eye on CRSSD’s Instagram page with their collective "fingers crossed," hoping the event would go on as planned.
Entering the festival you could almost feel a sense of relief from the crowd who were happy to be back at the beautiful venue overlooking the San Diego bay. You could hear Coronavirus being talked about in conversations throughout the weekend but the scare didn’t seem to stop people from packing into the park and dancing their cares away. With the exception of extra hand sanitizer stations and a few surgical masks, the festival was free from panic as attendees ignored authority's recommendations to “stand six-feet apart and avoid shaking hands.”
A weekend at CRSSD festival is a highlight of beautiful sunsets, great food, craft beer and cocktails, and a stacked lineup of the hottest House and Techno artists from around the world. As a 4-time CRSSD veteran, it was nice to see a much-needed improvement in sound quality this year with extra speaker arrays helping the sound reach further. With better sound coverage it was easier to enjoy the mainstage acts without having to cram in towards the front of the stage.
Speaking of mainstage acts, Saturday night saw Gesaffelstein bring his sinister pounding beats to the Ocean View stage. It was a set that was hard to walk away from as his demanding stage presence was enough to keep the crowd engaged with his every move. The Dark Prince closed out the festival on Saturday night and sent the crowd off to afterparties buzzing after having witnessed such a stellar performance.
Sunday was filled with more great weather and highlight performances. Carl Cox followed Charlotte DeWitte at the City Steps stage where the two combined for four solid hours of techno that satisfied the all-black crowd. Purple Disco Machine played a grooving sunset set and Justin Jay closed the night on the more intimate Palms stage. The highlight of the night, however, was back at Ocean View where RÜFÜS Du Sol played a live set that seemed to draw the biggest crowd I can remember in all the years at Waterfront Park.
The fountains were shut off and the water was drained to make more room for those looking to catch the masterful RÜFÜS performance. Even with their drummer suffering an injury prior to their set, the trio (with a replacement drummer) seemed to be leading a massive live karaoke party as the majority of the crowd seemed to sing just about every word. With one of dance music’s favorite groups on stage, planes landing just behind them and a beautiful almost full moon hovering above, there was truly “no place I’d rather be” than standing at Waterfront park with thousands of fellow fans singing along.
Each year CRSSD kicks off festival season, setting the tone for music and fashion that will be seen and heard at bigger events throughout the summer. With Coronavirus concerns growing and Tuesday's news that Coachella would be postponed, it might have been one of the few chances to get out and dance this year. We can now only keep our fingers crossed that isn’t the case and that we can get our fill by the time CRSSD’s fall edition is ready to wrap up the season.