In the heart of San Diego, where the sun-drenched skyline meets the tranquil embrace of the Pacific,  Water Front Park transforms into a pulsating orb of sound and color. Welcome to the sonic heaven that is CRSSD Festival, a semi-annual celebration of music that launches its attendees into a dream where rhythm dictates life itself. Set against the stunning backdrop of ships and city, CRSSD Festival is not just an event; it’s a phenomenon that has etched its mark on the city’s vibrant past and future.

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Keiki Lani-Knudsen @imkeiki

As the final days of September approach, the anticipation for CRSSD Festival reaches a fever pitch. Held on the coastal grounds Waterfront Park, this two-day extravaganza unfolded on September 23-24, with gates opening at the stroke of noon and the festivities pulsating until 11 pm. The festival’s timing is a stroke of genius, allowing attendees to bask in the warmth of the Southern California sun by day and lose themselves in the nocturnal beats as night descends upon the waterfront.

Waterfront Park, with its manicured lawns and delightful fountains, transforms into a utopian playground for music enthusiasts. With the fountains weren’t running this year it was actually a blessing in disguise. Although you can dance in the fountains they aren’t for everyone. With them off it almost double the dance floor and you needed all the dance floor you could get with the likes of Fisher, mindchatter, Flume, and all the other amazing artists that graced the stage.

CRSSD Fest 2023 Lineup

The venue itself becomes an integral part of the festival experience, providing a breathtaking setting that complements the diverse sounds echoing through the air. The juxtaposition of the city’s modern skyline against the natural beauty of the Pacific creates a striking visual contrast, setting the stage for a sensory journey that is as captivating as the music itself.

CRSSD Festival is renowned for its meticulously curated lineup, a testament to the organizers’ commitment to pushing the boundaries of musical exploration. The roster of artists is a fusion of established legends and emerging talents, spanning the spectrum of electronic and live music genres. From the infectious beats of world-class DJs like Fisher to the soul-stirring performances of Flume and mindchatter. 

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Keiki Lani-Knudsen @imkeiki

The sun-soaked atmosphere becomes an incubator of energy, with attendees streaming in to immerse themselves in the sonic seascape that awaits. With multiple stages scattered across the venue, each offering a unique sonic experience, festival-goers are presented with a myriad of choices, creating a sense of freedom and exploration. With the Palms just as you enter you don’t have to wait long to get involved with the dance floor and feel those house beats all up your spine. City Steps came next with its techno-fueled architect. And last but not least is Ocean View, the main stage. Where you can watch the sunset over the ocean, the rigging of ships swaying in the breeze, dancing with the palm trees. This stage is the most versatile stage where genres blend but the dance never stops.

As the day unfolds, the festival transforms. The warmth of the sun gives way to the hues of dusk, and Waterfront Park metamorphoses into a nocturnal wonderland. The stages come alive with dazzling light displays, and the energy of the crowd reaches its zenith. Headliners take center stage, delivering performances that defy expectations and elevate the festival experience to new heights. From the infectious beats that reverberate through the dance floor to the melodic strains that tug at the heartstrings, CRSSD Festival is one hell of a journey. 

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Felicia Garcia – @fixationphotography

Yet, CRSSD Festival is more than just a musical odyssey; it’s a congregation of people bound by a shared passion for music and a collective desire to lose themselves in the rhythm of the moment. The diverse crowd, a vibrant swath of individuals from all walks of life, converges to create a communal celebration for sound.

The festival’s atmosphere is electric, with an air of camaraderie that transcends barriers and fosters connections.


Everyone is quick to say excuse me, quick to help if its required, and always there to keep the vibes high. Unlike a lot of other festivals the crowd is one of the best parts of the entire weekend. Everyones there to enjoy the music, forget about the problems of the week, and dance the night away. 

Some of my favorite acts of the weekend had to have been Chris Stussy, MindChatter, Interplanetary Criminal and Overmono. 

Chris Stussy, a Dutch DJ who played sunset at The Palms, is a human music machine. His rhythm, timing, and selection is top notch and up their with the best. His music often incorporates soulful and jazzy influences, creating a sound that’s both danceable and rich in musicality. His tracks may blend classic house elements with modern production techniques, resulting in a sound that pays homage to the genre’s roots while staying relevant in contemporary electronic music.

mindchatter played Ocean View mid-day and I will never miss his sets. I suggest you don’t either. His music often defies easy genre categorization. A fusion of electronic, house, and dance elements with a knack for blending different musical styles, create a sound that’s both melodic and danceable. He plays live instrumentation at his shows which adds to his ambience and locks his crowds into his trance. 

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Keiki Lani-Knudsen @imkeiki

Overmono was the duo I never knew I needed. One of the standout features of the two music is its infectious energy. The duo crafts tracks with powerful and dynamic rhythms that are often dancefloor-oriented. The beats are typically intricate, with nods to classic rave and techno rhythms. While some electronic music can be minimalistic, the duo often weaves intricate and emotive melodic elements into their compositions. The two incorporate a variety of samples into their music, ranging from classic vocal samples to snippets of spoken word and field recordings. This sampling adds layers of narrative and texture to their tracks, creating a multi-dimensional listening experience. Absolutely mental.

Interplanetary Criminal who played The Palms is a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from the UK he incorporates a lot of that beautiful UK garage. His music tends to be bass-heavy, with a focus on deep and resonant basslines. The low-end frequencies play a crucial role in creating a sense of weight and movement in his tracks. In line with the UK garage tradition, Interplanetary Criminal’s tracks often showcase rhythmic complexity. The use of intricate drum patterns, shuffling hi-hats, and percussive elements adds a dynamic and danceable dimension to his music. I can’t wait for him to come back. 

Courtesy of CRSSD Festival // Felicia Garcia – @fixationphotography

As the clock inches towards 11 pm, the final beats echo through the night, marking the culmination of two days of bliss. CRSSD Festival leaves an indelible imprint on the hearts of those who have danced, laughed, and reveled in its magic. The memories forged at Waterfront Park linger long after the last note has faded away, a testament to the transformative power of music and the unparalleled experience that is CRSSD Festival.



As the cityscape returns to its slumber, the echoes of CRSSD linger, a rhythmic heartbeat that resonates in the collective memory of those fortunate enough to have been part of it. 

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