Festival Report Card

Festival Report Card: CRSSD Fall 2023

CRSSD Festival recently wrapped its fall edition for 2023, and we can never get enough house and techno, so were excited to see these genres be celebrated right on the water in downtown San Diego once again.

With a lineup full of festival headliners and a gorgeous backdrop including an actual pirate ship right near the entrance, we were anticipating legendary music and experiences, and we were ready to see what the San Diego crowd would be like.

Check out our festival report card for CRSSD Fall 2023:

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Keiki Lani-Knudsen

Vibes: B+

Having a festival on the water combined with house and techno music brought top-tier vibes to the weekend. This southern California crowd proved to be quite friendly and outgoing. From the staff at the bars to the festival goers themselves, we felt welcomed with open arms (and dance moves).

We also felt quite safe, as there were metal detectors which we appreciated using before entering. We also noticed that the 21+ age requirement of this event helped keep medical and other out-of-control situations to a minimum.

It was fantastic to see older festival goers bring out their best outfits and dance moves and feel right at home with everyone else. 

We did hear of a few pickpocketing incidents towards people at the front of the more crowded sets. A few of the sets also felt overcrowded, such as Chris Lake B2B Cloonee which involved some moving through the crowd without hearing “excuse me.”

Overall, the vibes were excellent with a few hiccups here and there. 

Production: B+ 

The stage designs themselves were what you would expect at a festival. The Oceanview stage (mainstage) had one of the most gorgeous views of any festival we’ve ever been to.

Looking out into the sunset over the ocean on one side and downtown San Diego on the other brought a sense of peace and beauty that could not be replicated. 

We felt that there was a lack of extra elements such as fireworks and CO2 blasts, but this did not take away from the performances.

The stage designs were simple and had LED screens with artists’ visuals behind them. It was impressive how fast the Oceanview stage could be set up for each live act.

On the other hand, the stages felt too close together and we experienced a good amount of sound bleed between every stage. While the layout of three stages all being in a straight line was helpful for quick walks between sets, we would have appreciated the stages being spaced out further.

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Felicia Garcia

Music: A- 

The lineup was packed from open to close with heavy hitters in house and techno. Artists like LP Giobbi and Cassian having early sets that were groovy and beautiful was just the beginning, as these are artists that often headline their own shows. Patrick Mason’s set had unmatched energy. His stage dancing and beats were top-tier.

We loved seeing Norwegian legends Röyskopp take the mainstage and bring their crew of dancers along for an unforgettable performance. Fatboy Slim and Elderbrook each had sunset sets that were so beautiful they brought us to tears. 

Chris Lake B2B Cloonee brought out the largest crowd we have ever seen at the Palms stage, which makes sense give the players involved. However, in light of that fact, we do think this set should have been at the mainstage for crowd control purposes. Chris Lake is too big at this point for anything but mainstage.

We thought this lineup was fantastic and every artist delivered. There was some sound bleed between stages on the edges, but once we were inside the stage, we were transported to sonic heaven. 

Venue: B  

Sitting on the ocean at Waterfront Park, the location of this event was dreamy. Listening to house music and seeing the sunset over the ocean was a fantastic use of natural settings within event production. 

The grounds themselves did seem to be much drier than years before, leading to unexpected dust being kicked up and circling in the air. We left needing some clear air after the two days. 

We also felt the venue was smaller than needed for the talent and crowd size. More brand activations were added in the center of the venue instead of by the Ocean View stage, which allowed for more open space at the mainstage, but a crowded feel at the center of the venue.

There was also unrelated construction at City Hall which caused some additional foot traffic and congestion while walking in between stages. 

The backdrop of the ocean cannot be beaten, though, and it’s a staple of the CRSSD festival. We do wish more space was allotted inside the festival and felt that would’ve helped with sound bleeding and congestion issues. 

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Daniella Becerra

Overall: B+

Overall, CRSSD Fall edition met our expectations almost exactly.

We loved seeing a daytime festival come to life once the sun set each day. There were no bad sets and one could have a good time at any set at any time of day this past weekend.

The venue should expand for the crowd and talent it brings, as the stages felt cramped at some parts of the night, especially for Chris Lake and Cloonee.

With a few minor hiccups, CRSSD Fall 2023 was a fantastic way to close out the summer season and we are looking forward to seeing the spring edition in 2024.

Featured image provided Courtesy of CRSSD Festival //Daniella Becerra

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