by E.P Pirt, Jr.
When CRSSD offered to have us out to sunny California to cover their very first festival, on the beautiful shores of the Pacific in downtown San Diego, it was a no-brainer. Not only was the location exceptional, but so was the lineup. Veteran acts Empire Of The Sun and Chromeo were the closest things to household names at a festival where the underground shined.
There were the seasoned game-changers, like James Murphy, Damian Lazarus, Pete Tong, Seth Troxler, and Justin Martin, as well as some of the hottest newer acts in the scene; SNBRN, Bixel Boys, Thomas Jack, Bakermat, Trippy Turtle, and ODESZA just to name a few. In an industry often dominated by big names, big companies, and big crowds, CRSSD proved that less can still be more.
While the lineup was most-likely stacked in the minds of most of the patrons, the lack of mainstream “EDM” talent is what made it special. I’m not here to bash the bigger festivals and the artists that perform at them. I’m a fan of plenty of them. But variety is what makes this scene so great, and it’s refreshing to attend a professionally-managed festival that focuses on quality music for a more mature crowd, instead of only being concerned with making their wallets fatter by booking the acts that will sell them the most tickets.
The CRSSD team expertly pieced together a festival that featured intelligent, thought-driven talent buying, all-the-while managing to create a welcoming and warm, scratch that, hot atmosphere for fans. More often than not, the underground scene in any genre lends itself as a breeding ground for elitist nay-saying and holier-than-thou hipster types, but CRSSD straddled the line perfectly in its first chapter.
In addition to the impressive artist selection and crowd attraction, the technical operation itself went off with very few hiccups. There were rumors that by the end of the first day the vendors had 86’d their water supply, and the fact that they did not accept passports as legitimate ID for buying alcohol (at an already 21+ event) seemed a little counter-productive. But other than that, the production went off without a hitch. It’s safe to say that CRSSD managed to do in it’s first year what many festivals can’t seem to figure out until their fourth or fifth year, if they even make it that long.
So to the people of southern California and to the organizers, artists, and fans of CRSSD, we say thank you for letting us share such an unforgettable first year with you. You have Colorado’s vote.