An SDSU student’s journey to CRSSD 2016

by Alek Sanchez, Staff Writer

When people think of Southern California, they might think of the glorious beach life and the sun-kissed residents with their care-free attitude. No other festival in So Cal nails this vibe down than San Diego’s CRSSD Fest.

Now in its third iteration, it’s no wonder people from all over flock to San Diego for two special days of beer, beats and beach vibes.

CRSSD secured one of the premiere locations in San Diego, barely 10 miles from campus, for its venue. Inside the Waterfront Park, the fest expanded throughout the entire park alongside the iconic Star of India and Maritime Museum of San Diego. The festival captured the San Diego State vibe  a perfect blend of city meets surf.

CRSSD has gained a reputation for bringing together a culture of music-first festival goers. The occasional neon-trucker-hat, “I came to rage,” bro-tank-wearing crowd stuck out like a sore thumb rather than taking over the waterfront lawn. But it would be impossible to curate a festival free from culture vultures and trendy socialites who don’t know the music, and vibes were still on-point at CRSSD.

First things first on Saturday, I made sure to get our bearings at the festival. Right inside the entrance, guests were able to dance their way into the Palms stage. A jungle-themed house heaven, the Palms set the mood right out the gates. Throughout the park, you were able to easily bounce from stage to stage and save some space to grab a beer or bite in between. Being a 21-only festival meant the entire park was a beer garden, as there were dedicated bar areas located throughout.

One of the sights I’ll never forget is watching concertgoers kick off their shoes and dance in the waterfront wading pools at the Ocean View and Palms stages. Nothing screamed “summertime” more than watching San Diegans get their feet wet, without a care in the world, enjoying the music. It was the quintessential San Diego State attitude.

Saturday brought rain showers, and concertgoers bundled up for the windy storm on Sunday, but nothing could damper these San Diego spirits. Here were some of my favorite performances from the weekend.

1. Gesaffelstein (DJ Set) – Saturday

A little drizzle was nothing for the dark prince of techno. Slotted between Ryan Hemsworth and Odesza, Gesaffelstein’s set had a lot more energy and vigor than when I last saw him at HARD’s Day of the Dead last year. His energetic and pounding drum lines might not have been for everyone, as I felt lost searching for the right area of the crowd to find people just as into his set as I was. Most instead posted up to get a good spot for Odesza. His destructive and brooding atmosphere might not have been the most perfect fit for CRSSD, but Gesaffelstein never fails to disappoint.

2. Cirez D – Saturday

Featuring two hours of deep, dark techno and progressive house, a gigantic late add for CRSSD Fest was Cirez D  the alternate alias of the legendary Eric Prydz. The City Steps stage was packed from side to side to end the night. As the rain poured on, my feet still moved to close out Saturday strong. There were no “drops” here this weekend, just a steady stream of heavy hitting bass lines and constant motion to take CRSSD fest on a journey. As Prydz closed his set with his classic “On Off,” I saw the DJ excitedly jump up and down behind the decks. As someone who never gets on the mic during his sets, it was an interesting change of pace from his usually stoic personality. His energy was palpable, and CRSSD gave everything back to him.

3. Hi-Lo – Sunday

Feeding into the summertime vibes, Oliver Heldens’ bass-heavy alias had the Ocean View crowd grooving throughout the afternoon. San Diego had the pleasure of catching Helden’s inaugural performance as Hi-Lo, and it was a nice departure from the more pop-leaning style under his main name. With the freedom to stray away from the mainstream, he brought out more underground hits  and boy, did I love it. I felt as if I was watching Oliver Heldens: Unchained, with the DJ free to play whatever he wanted, whether it was disco hits, deep-techno cuts or grooving house tracks. I hope to see many more Hi-Lo performances in the future.

4. Green Velvet – Sunday

As the sun set at the City Steps stage on Sunday, Curtis Jones  otherwise known as Green Velvet  laid some knowledge on the CRSSD Fest crowd. One of electronic music’s biggest players throughout the last 20 years, it was heartwarming to see how much CRSSD respected the music and scene by bringing in Jones and his iconic green mohawk. It was a blessing to have him get on the mic and do some of his lyrics live. His set was as fierce as his personality, keeping concertgoers dancing as the sun set down Sunday.

Another Spring and another successful CRSSD Fest. I eagerly wait for September’s festival and see what else FNGRS CRSSD has underneath its sleeves. It has curated an atmosphere that should be preserved, one that puts the music first rather than what’s “cool.” San Diego spirit has never been higher as one of the nation’s most-sought out festivals takes place right here in our waterfront.