Now in its second year, San Diego’s CRSSD Fest at Waterfront Park made the jump this weekend from being one of the best-kept secrets to being a legitimate powerhouse of a second-tier music festival.
The twice-a-year fest — which takes place in both March and October — was a sell-out and tickets on the secondary market were going for a pretty high price. With just two full-length records to their name, Seattle electronic duo ODESZA went from being a second-line act at last year’s March edition to the Saturday headliner this year.
One thing was made certain after they closed the show the first night — they have proven to be a legitimate and deserving second-tier festival headliner. This is something Sunday headliner Chet Faker would have trouble with the following night.
ODESZA’s production and live arrangement is very special and stands out in the electronic community. These guys are the furthest away you can get from DJs that are up there just pushing play. They had a live horns section, incredible visuals and had the crowd juiced after they waited in the rain before they took the stage.
Crowd favorites like “All We Need” and “Say My Name” had people dancing as though the cold had no effect on them. The weather wasn’t quite as good as the previous October, but that didn’t stop people from dressing like it was 85 degrees. The heat that ODESZA gave from the stage was enough to keep people warm until the set finished up just a few minutes shy of 11 PM.
Cirez D, the darker side project for top-tier act Eric Prydz, took place simultaneous to ODESZA’s set, though there was a 30-minute period where you could catch him before the headliner took the main stage across the park.
French artist Gesaffelstein retired his live set at Coachella last year but made an appearance on the main stage prior to ODESZA on Saturday with a DJ set. His set took place while a light drizzle hit the crowd, his techno beats thumping so hard you could feel it climb up your spine with each oontz. Sound issues did seem to affect his set as it stopped for a bit, and this wasn’t the last time the main stage would have those problems.
There was a lot of anticipation for Canadian DJ Ryan Hemsworth‘s sunset set but it seemed to miss the mark with a lot of people in the crowd. His set seemed much tamer than when I last saw him and he didn’t do as much uptempo stuff as people are used to seeing him do. Still, there were moments of highs, like his remix of Blink 182’s “Feeling This.”
Los Angeles duo Poolside brought the chill vibes while the sun was out, a good appetizer for the darker stuff that would come later in the evening. Gryffin was one of the better sets early in the day. Julio Bashmore and the Gorgon City (DJ) B2B Kidnap Kid set shined on the jungly Palms Stage.
Saturday was easily the deeper of the two days of CRSSD’s second spring fest, and it set the bar pretty high for Sunday to try and overcome it. There were some downers, like the entry line being way too long with just one entry point, and the alcohol and bathroom lines taking an insane amount of time as well. But the location is probably the festival’s biggest selling point as it takes place on one of the most beautiful properties I’ve ever been to.
Words: Mark E. Ortega
Photos: CRSSD Fest / Felicia Garcia