CRSSD FEST: A Step Forward In The US Dance Music Scene

This past weekend in Southern California festival goers gathered in the Waterfront park of San Diego for the semi-annual CRSSD Festival put on by FNGRS CRSSD. Although this is a fairly new festival the attendees were not new to the festival scene. Everyone involved was a seasoned festival goer and this was obvious from outfit choices to the level of commitment to the party and the vibe curated by everyone involved.

Firstly, after walking in the gates of CRSSD one notes how beautiful the location is. The waterfront park sits directly on the water and boasts pirate ships and fountains for the attendee to leisurely dance in: magical. Although one may not equate San Diego with the more underground electronic scene FNGRS CRSSD has started to shift this for the residents of Southern California who are obviously thirsty for more and more parties like this one. It is a collaboration between a beautiful festival venue and local clubs like Spin and Bang Bang,which boasted the all night afterparties, that brings a vibe similar to camping festivals directly into the big city: imagine if Lighting in a Bottle and Ultra had a baby, it would be CRSSD.

It is not a large festival; unlike the larger Coachella or EDC there are only three very simple stages, which fed the vibe perfectly. Unlike festivals which overload stages with lights, there was a limited set up. The palms stage boasted flying parasols under a gentle canopy day one and an assortment of palm trees day two; the City Steps stage simply had fabric which appeared to be made of wood and 4 or so strobe lights; the Ocean view had the largest set up and was probably the size of a smaller stage at a larger festival. Since both Coachella and CRSSD are thrown by Goldenvoice, festival goers can hope this same vibe will be brought to Coachella this coming year. The best part about CRSSD is that it was a festival of Yuma vibes. If you have been at Coachella the last couple years since they added the indoor Yuma stage which has air conditioning (a dream in the hot palm springs desert) and all underground DJS all the time— you know exactly the funky vibes. Its a not a festival for MainStage music fans its a festival for those seeking the deeper and darker sounds. This festival is not for people there to “see” something. It is a festival about hearing and experiencing something.

There has been a shift in festival culture over the past few years. This shift is a phase two of the millennial involvement in electronic music. The millennials arrived on the scene in the United States as Kandi Kids. Then it was about the music, environment, the vibe, about connecting with and meeting new people through music. Then a few years ago with the rise of festivals like Coachella and especially EDC things started to change. First, a young girl died at EDC in 2011 which moved the festival from LA to Vegas. The death marked something in EDM culture in the states. It was noticeable to outsiders that this was a “drug” culture. The stigma came into play harder than before. Kandi started to fade away as result of this as did the PLUR vibes. Then Coachella added weekend two. Suddenly EDM was everywhere. All our songs had a beat underneath them. It was no longer a counter culture: EDM had gone mainstream in the global music scene.

CRSSD represents a return to the roots of dance music culture. As millennials we may not have been fortunate enough to have been around for the birth of house and techno; however its re-manifestation in american culture represents a return to the counter culture house and techno formed out of. At CRSSD it was unlikely to hear the mainstream tracks: and although many amazing tracks could be listed that was not the point.

Dancing by the ocean this past weekend was about the vibes. Each and every DJ curated a sound specifically for the crowd they were playing for. Unexpected things happened like: when Lee Foss (the devil he is) dropped “Whoop there it is” and we were suddenly back at a middle school dance in a gymnasium. Out of nowhere it went from 90s anthem to a bouncy house beat he is known for and it crushed us all. Or when Claude Von Stroke and Green Velvet closed out the Palms stage together and played their smasher “Mind Yo Bizznuss” from their collaboration Get Real — no one could stop dancing, and no one wanted to. It was moments like when the dark lord of techno Cirez D (an alias of the musical genius Eric Prydz) played one of his most current smashers “On Top Baby” and as one scanned the crowd one couldn’t find a negative face. And how about when J.Phlip and Ardalan dropped the funky beat with a sample “I like it in the butt… in the … in the… butt… butt” as everyone walked in on day 2: instantly they cured everyones hangover and it was all laughs and craft beer. It was truly a good vibes only festival.

Unlike the overcrowded and oversold festivals that have become so common in the US CRSSD was a place of polite festival goers. Everyone had the space they needed to dance. When someone wanted to squeeze by they said “Excuse me” and offered up a smile. This may sound obvious, but one would be surprised at how uncommon such behavior has become in the american music scene.

CRSSD This weekend represented a shift in dance culture in the states. The millennials are not longer interested in just a bass beat— we want more. We want the vibes. We want the connection. It goes deeper than the music. Its a tribal thumping, a calling to connect deeper than the skin. Its not necessarily sexual; but it is sensual. It’s being alive and allowing people all around to see the golden essence we call a soul: unmasked, vulnerable, and without judgement. Everyone was present. That created the bubble: the connected consciousness which creates a web of inter human dialogue which goes beyond language and creates a shared experience. The community created the high— and whether or not you took drugs inside the festival grounds, once you entered you were on the trip. And what a beautiful trip it was.

We're back at the Waterfront this spring joined by the likes of Chet Faker, ODESZA, LOCO DICE, Tale Of Us, Hot Since 82, Jamie Jones, Claude VonStroke, Gorgon City + many more! Take a look at how our weekend in the fall went down while we prepare for our March 5th & 6th return.Get Tickets at: ticketf.ly/1HGD56f21+ // 3 stages // 40+ artists // craft beer // craft cocktails // sunsets on the bay // CRSSDfest.com

Posted by CRSSD festival on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

by Carolyne Deblois

Carolyne DeBlois is an actress and writer currently living, writing, and dancing in Los Angeles, CA. For more of her writing please follow her on Instagram @carolyne_deblois