A Beginner’s Guide to CRSSD Fest + Must-See Acts

CRSSD Festival has been one of our most-covered events over the years, despite being one of the newer gatherings in the dance music world. This will be our fifth Spring in attendance, which makes us a perfect 5/5. Not to brag, but because of this we feel we’re qualified to offer first-timers some advice, and to share who we’re most excited to see in just a few weeks. You can read our pre-festival coverage HERE and go below for some tips and tricks.

First-Timer’s Guide

  1. Security and what not to bring – I’ve written before that CRSSD security lines are less than favorable. This hasn’t changed in five years and I don’t expect it to be any different this year. If you have a normal pass without express entry, you should expect to wait in line for a decent amount of time if you’re not arriving early. CRSSD does sell express entry passes, $30 for the weekend, which I think is a good investment – you’ll breeze right through. But be mindful of all the things you’re not allowed to bring because things like open packs of gum, open chapstick, camelbaks, typical rave accessories, and more will be confiscated at security.
  2. Sound quality – the sound volume at CRSSD can vary quite a bit across the three stages. In my experience, City Steps is the loudest stage which is a good thing considering that stage is mostly reserved for Techno. It’s also protected by the large Parks and Rec building that sits at waterfront park, blocking sound from escaping the festival and getting out toward the rest of the city. Always pack your earplugs in the event you end up in front of a speaker stack, but also be aware that depending on your vantage point for some of the stages the sound may be quieter than you’re expecting.
  3. Clothing Attire and Weather – San Diego is a beautiful place known for mostly perfect weather year round. I’ve been at some hot CRSSDs and I’ve been at some cold and rainy CRSSDs. The festival, regardless, is still tons of fun but make sure you check out the forecast and come prepared. The wading pools are fun to dip your toes into if you’re hot but also be aware the first weekend in March is still technically winter and with that may come cooler temperatures. From an attire perspective, rave gear is generally discouraged, and you’ll see a lot of this 21+ crowd dressing more trendy than anything. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and get your boogie on at the fest but make sure you know this ain’t no EDC! (Note: we 100% respect EDC, but this is a different type of festival.)

Must-See Acts!

  1. Maetrik – Maceo Plex as his rare Techno moniker Maetrik?? Are you kidding me? Yes with a side of please (and some throbbing Techno, why not). I saw Maceo at CRSSD a few years ago but this is going to be a special treat. If you know Maceo and you know Techno then I’ll certainly see you at City Steps on Saturday.
  2. Armand Van Helden – this guy needs no introduction but if you’ve never heard his name you may not realize he’s half of Duck Sauce alongside A-Trak. But AVH was doing his thing long before Duck Sauce and he is truly an OG specializing in Disco and feel good House music. I haven’t seen Armand Van Helden since my Holy Ship days but you can bet your ass this is going to be a funky set at the Palms Stage on Saturday.
  3. Steve Darko – the newest member of Dirtybird doing big things is Steve Darko. Fresh off a Summer tour with Claude Vonstroke and on the lineup at this past Dirtybird Campout, the homie from Boston is ripe for big things. I personally haven’t seen Steve Darko spin live yet but if he’s due to play some of his stellar productions then you know the crowd will be BUMPIN.
  4. The Martinez Brothers – a long time ago in the basement of Pacha NYC (pour a little out) I saw a duo bringing the heat during a new years party. Upstairs Laidback Luke was throwing his Super You & Me party and thats where the majority of the crowd was congregated. But downstairs The Martinez Brothers were playing to a small intimate crowd and the vibes were off the hook. Fast forward eight years and the Martinez Brothers are playing massive marathon sets around the world from the jungles of Mexico to the desert of Burning Man. These guys are top notch underground House and Tech and you know they’re going to bring some insane flavor to CRSSD – don’t sleep on it!
  5. Booka Shade (Live) – Here’s another one from the vault. Remember Identity Festival? The touring EDM festival that lasted two years? Yeah, I saw Booka Shade perform there, circa 2011. This German duo, which brings a hell of a live set, are OG German House and Techno. It will be fun seeing them on the live stage and hearing both some of their old classics and newer sounds. If you want to mix it up with some live instruments definitely go check Booka Shade on the live stage.

Honorable Mentions: Josh Butler, Sonny Fodera, Erol Alkan, Waze & Odyssey, Doc Martin, Catz ‘n Dogz, Whethan, and many more. See you there!