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A Lookback at CRSSD Spring ‘23

What does this year’s spring edition of CRSSD say about the San Diego music scene? San Diego is blossoming with potential: plenty of venues, artist traction, and a bright, motivated community.

Photo Credit: Juliana Bernstein / Claire Lejeune / Rachael Polack / Felicia Garcia 

However, there is still something missing from this up-and-coming music destination. You would think that a multi-genre lineup brings a certain duality to this festival’s attendance, and would offer a unique experience as a gathering of so many different people there for different reasons. CRSSD may have delivered on their lineup talent and variety, but ultimately there was a lack of cohesion between stages and listeners.

The three CRSSD stages are a representation of the eclectic music taste of San Diegans. After scanning your wristband at the entrance of beautiful Waterfront Park, you’ll approach The Palms – a stage that shines bright with world-class house acts from day to night. I was pleasantly surprised to hear more breakbeats and experimental moments at this stage from Kettama and Mall Grab. The City Steps unified techno lovers looking for high-energy sets and that extra “oomph”. The Ocean View attracted listeners of all kinds with fan favorites and live performances from Odesza, Polo and Pan, and Channel Tres. The ethereal vibes overlooking the water are a perfect pairing with the glowing talent on this stage.

Looking back at the weekend, it was evident that the ladies stole the show. International techno legends Anfisa Letyago, Sama Abduhali, and Maya Jane Coles stunned the crowd with their superb track selection and mixing skills. That kind of enthralling feminine energy is something we need more of on festival lineups in coming years. Listeners at The City Steps stay posted all day, committed to fulfilling their techno dreams and dancing the night away.

Purple Disco Machine closed out the festival with an uplifting performance at The Palms – a set that is impossible not to smile to. Disco classics like ‘Ring My Bell’, ‘Funky Town’, and ‘Praise You’ got the crowd singing, grooving, and hugging their friends for the final moments of the festival.

CRSSD hits the sweet spot with its prime location and a killer lineup, although there is always room for growth. Over the years, CRSSD’s bookings have leveled up and continue to interest me. In the future, I’m hoping to see more art installations, interactivity, diversity in its bookings, and appreciation for local talent more so than anything. I’m looking forward to seeing what the CRSSD crew cooks up for their fall edition.

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