Before the March debut of CRSSD Fest at downtown’s Waterfront Park, the promoters of the homegrown, two-day electronic music-fueled marathon expressed hope they could make the event an annual affair. Instead, after drawing about 30,000 people to the weekend festival - including a sold-out opening day crowd of 15,000 - the promoters have decided not to wait until next year to stage an encore.
The second edition of CRSSD Fest will take place October 10 and 11 at the same bay-side location, with an expanded range of musical acts that includes such top alternative-rock bands as Flaming Lips and TV On The Radio. Two-day tickets, priced at $95, go on sale Friday at 1 p.m. through the 21-and-up event’s website. The price will increase to $135 after the initial allotment of tickets is sold. The full lineup, which includes Zhu, Maya Jane Coles and legendary dance music producer Giorgio Moroder, appears below.
“Being right at capacity with your first festival, and having such a positive audience response, is something that really never happens. So we thought: ‘How do we maximize this?’ And the answer was to do another one in the fall,” said CRSSD Fest co-founder Johnny Shockey.
Given that at least half of the nearly 30,000 attendees in March traveled from out of town, the event’s potential as more than a profitable music event seems considerable.
“With tourism being a major driver of the San Diego economy, giving visitors a reason to keep coming back to San Diego is essential,” said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Festivals bring new opportunities for our destination both culturally and financially, and the first CRSSD music festival had an overwhelming positive response locally, nationally and internationally.
“We are looking forward to supporting CRSSD as it continues to grow and flourish. It’s great to see local promoters, designers and businesses working together to bring something unique to a space that is comparable to any festival destination in the world, San Diego’s Waterfront Park.”
CRSSD Fest’s immediate success did not, however, come without some unforeseen growing pains.
The event’s promoters have vowed to correct the logistical problems that led to $65,000 in damage to plants, irrigation heads, valves, granite surfaces and a playground sign at the March event.
Those damages were paid for in full by CRSSD Fest, according to Jessica Geiszler, the Marketing & Public Outreach Manager for the County of San Diego’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “The approval process (For CRSSD Fest) is still underway,” Geiszler said Monday afternoon. “The event hasn’t been officially approved by the County, and is still being vetted as part of our review process for all public events in the park.”
Shockey. meanwhile, welcomes the opportunity for honing the festival.
“One of the main things we are going to address is how we can improve in protecting the park,” he said. “We know where the most heavily trafficked areas are, so we can protect them. We can do a better job with our production companies, to get everything in and out properly. We can move some of the bathrooms around so they’re not all in one area. And some of the stages may have a little more space between them.”
Shockey is the head of LED, a five-year-old San Diego concert production company, and FNGRS CRSSD, its two-year-old sister company. FNGRS CRSSD produces CRSSD Festival in collaboration with Goldenvoice, the Los Angeles company that stages the annual Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio.
The instant success of CRSSD Fest in March stands in marked contrast with Coachella, which lost nearly $1 million when it debuted in 1999 and took several years to break even. The annual three-day Coachella festival is now so successful that it is held for two consecutive three-day weekends each April and draws nearly 100,000 people per day.
Coachella grossed $78,332,000 last year, an all-time record for any music festival in the world. Goldenvoice is a division of AEG Live, which owns a controlling interest in San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center and exclusively books the Humphreys Concerts by the Bay series.
The first CRSSD FEST focused largely on deep house, techno, new disco and other electronic music styles (but not, by design, EDM, which tends to draw a younger and more rambunctious audience). Shockey regards the stylistic festival’s expansion in October, with Flaming Lips and TV On The Radio, as a natural evolution.
“Adding indie bands and rock ‘n’ roll to an electronic music festival is the direction we’re going, but we’re not going to do anything too commercial,” he said.
“We want to keep it really fresh and so something different with bands that are iconic, regardless of whether they have a new album out. With the first festival, we really took some risks on (presenting) music that is not that commercial and does not have a lot of radio airplay. We’re geared to people who are real music-heads, do their research and have certain artists they follow who are outside of the platforms everyone else uses.
“I’ve been watching the (rock band) Foo Fighters’ ‘Sonic Highways’ (music) documentary. They visit all these cities across America and discuss, in detail, the culture of music and how it affects these particular cities, but they didn’t come to San Diego. With events like CRSSD Fest, we are showcasing a unique side and different setting than how most people view San Diego. Creating festivals like this helps promote the city on a musical and cultural level, and shows that our city can produce a world-class event and be a destination for independent music.”
CRSSD Fest lineup, Oct. 10 and 11, Waterfront Park
(Specific performance times for the 21-and-up-festival will be announced at a later date.)
Alunageorge, Andhim, Anna Lunoe, Baio, Ben Klock, Bicep, Big Data, Blonde, Bob Moses, Bonobo (DJ set), Claptone, Client Liaison, Coyote Kisses, Cut Snake, Detroit Swindle, DJ Tennis, Flaming Lips, Gallant, Giorgio Moroder, Hayden James, Hercules & Love Affair, Humans, Jacques Greene, Jamie XX, Justin Jay, Klatch, Lee K, Mano Le Tough, Matoma, Maya Jane Coles, Monakr, Monkey Safari, Panda Bear, Playmode, Redlight, St. Lucia, Swimm, Todd Terje, Touch Sensitive, Toyboy & Robin, TV On The Radio, Wild Nothing, Zhu