Cover photo by Gina Joy @ginajoyphoto
With this past weekend, San Diego’s FNGRS CRSSD has now hosted ten fully-fledged editions of its now always-sold-out CRSSD Festival. Make no mistake, selling out a festival is no small feat and if 6 years ago you had asked us whether it would be possible in a city like San Diego and with the types of names the festival hosts, we would have been very skeptical.
Yet, the team behind CRSSD has managed to build a brand so strong that it would now be a surprise if any of its imminent future edition didn’t sell out before doors open. That is not to say that it may not happen, but it’s simply a testament to the following the festival has built over the last 5 years and 10 separate editions.
The 5 year anniversary celebrations this past weekend gifted attendees with a lineup that followed a very similar format to years prior. The Palms Stage took take of hosting tech house and bass house names for most of the weekend, drawing its biggest crowds on Day 2 with its last three performances: Shiba San b2b Walker & Royce, MK and FISHER. It was also refreshing to witness Chicago House getting a well-deserved spot on Day 1’s lineup as Derrick Carter and Mark Farina battled it out behind the decks as the sun was setting over San Diego’s Waterfront Park.
The City Steps was, naturally, 6AM’s spot for the vast majority of the the weekend. While Green Velvet and Richie Hawtin drew the biggest crowds of the weekend there, our favorite sets technically came from Objekt and 999999999 (Live) on Day 1, and Julian Jeweil on Day 2. Regardless, it was reinvigorating to see Day 1’s set times properly scheduled so as to leave the harder sounds for last and it must be acknowledged that CRSSD’s programming for the first day was on-point. While they could have easily justified having Green Velvet close the night, he performed the sunset set instead before giving way to Dr. Rubinstein, Objekt and, finally, a Live performance by Italy’s Live acid techno duo 999999999.
We witnessed the entirety of Day 2 at City Steps beginning with JIA’s proper opening set, filled with atmospheric and deep techno cuts, followed by a succession of techno names that, although all seemingly all over the place, worked well for the majority of the day. Following on from Anastasia Kristensen and Jay Lumen, it was Julian Jeweil’s set that surprised us the most, a well-curated and perfectly mixed narrative from beginning to end. Riding a massive wave of popularity at the moment, it’s easy to see why Artbat were scheduled to perform after Jeweil and before Amelie Lens and Richie Hawtin, but the result was a definite lack of musical flow. The duo’s melodic soundscapes and very long break-downs were not a proper follow-up to Jeweil’s high-energy performance, and you could sense the frustration in the crowd.
As always, the Ocean View stage provided more mellow alternatives throughout the weekend, with Kaskade’s Redux set drawing massive crowds, alongside Hot Chip’s closing performance on Day 1 and Portugal The Man’s on Day 2.
When it was all said and done, we left San Diego smiling with the knowledge that the festival is actively doing its part to bring more obscure and underground sounds to larger demographics. It’s not an easy feat and far from done, but if Day 1’s programming at City Steps is anything to go by, we predict even more techno (and not just the “business” kind) at future editions of the festival.
CRSSD, see you in Spring!
Check more photos from CRSSD Festival Fall 2019 below.