In the growing festival culture in America, the formula seems to veer toward two strategies: booking a mix of alternative rock and hip-hop acts with some EDM sprinkled in or multiple EDM-heavy stages with a third, fourth or even fifth area offering "undergound" house and techno. So it's sometimes surprising to see something put together that takes some risks and doesn't automatically target the younger "bangers and drops" crowd.
CRSSD Festival, put together by FNGRS CRSSD and Goldenvoice, takes place March 14-15 at San Diego's Waterfront Park. As with many first-year events, there are always questions and trepidations about trying something new. For just that reason, we're giving you seven reasons why this is a festival that's worth your time and money.
7. DJ Harvey - If you haven't seen Harvey play, now is your chance. A legendary DJ in the UK disco house/garage scene, he has been at it for decades. His 'Sarcastic Disco' parties in LA are always highly-anticipated, as much for the weird tunes Harvey drops as the people watching. It will be great entertainment seeing how the festival crowd reacts to Harvey's unique sound.
6. 'Walking On A Dream' - Anybody who says they don't want to hear Empire of Sun perform this huge track with a nice breeze off the Pacific blowing through their hair is the same person you will see singing along at the top of their lungs when it goes down.
5. Simian Mobile Disco b2b Roman Flugel - Simian Mobile Disco have been widely popular for their electro, tech-house and nu-disco productions for nearly a decade now. Flugel (below) doesn't make a ton of US appearances, but this German is as well-respected as he is diverse. His ability to craft a set for any environment is why other DJ's name him as "one of their all-time favorites." This is a rare opportunity to see what Flugel does back-to-back with another well-rounded act.
4. Ocean View Live stage - If you have friends who you're trying to convince to go and maybe they aren't into the "rave stuff" (as they call it), there is a whole stage with live bands playing danceable beats with songs they've surely heard. Empire of the Sun, Chromeo, Flight Facilities, Classixx (below) and Goldroom are names you can dangle to draw these "fringers" into your web.
3. City Steps stage - If you like your beats deep, this area has a massive lineup for the weekend. Maceo Plex, Justin Martin (below), Lee Burridge, Tensnake, Danny Daze, Patrick Topping and J. Phlip are just the highlights. Honestly, for a US festival, the "underground" bill on this stage is enough to buy a ticket.
2. It's in San Diego and it's on the water - Does anything else really need to be said? You've got one of America's great cities with some of the best weather you will find anywhere on the continent and the festival takes place next to the ocean. That alone is a reason to visit San Diego. Add in 50+ artists at a venue like Waterfront Park (below) and it sounds like a formula for success.
1. It's a diverse lineup, but somehow still features no EDM - In America, this is a win; a huge win. Maybe it's because it's a 21+ event or maybe festival organizers in the States are starting to take more chances and cater to an older set who appreciates more of the subtleties of dance music. Whatever the answer, CRSSD Festival has put together an extremely ambitious and well-planned first offering. And the best part may be that there isn't an Afrojack, Diplo, Skrillex or Hardwell anywhere to be found. Now that's refreshing.
Get tickets and info here.