CRSSD Festival Review + Complete Guide: All You Need to Know

This CRSSD festival review + guide will go into complete detail about all relevant aspects of San Diego’s waterfront park music festival, and should leave you totally confident, informed, and prepared! This CRSSD review eill go into what to wear to CRSSD to the venue, rules, lineup, tickets, lockers, crowd, security, and so much more.

I have now been a few times both to the spring and summer CRSSD editions (they have one in May and one in September, usually), and I must say I’m impressed. I mostly first went because it was the last weekend of my time at home one year (and as always I was in need of a nice lil festie to keep my happiness going :P) but it was honestly a little… different than I expected. I’m not gonna lie, I was kindof picturing a total fashion show with a lot of Californians trying a bit too hard to be trendy and look cool, but I was pleasantly surprised by the vibe of the whole thing. Before I get too far into it, let’s begin!

crssd venue

Crssd Festival Venue

Crssd festival is famously held at San Diego Waterfront Park, which could not be a better venue for this festival! The location is absolutely prime and there is plenty of room to hang out and relax in the grass, play around in the fountains, or pack in close to any of the three stages. The park is a long rectangle, with a stage at either end and one in the middle. Between it all there are plenty of places to sit down in the shade or at tables, lots of bars (hellloooo craft beer), some great food options, a pretty large water refill station, and very amply placed (and visually appealing) fountains along the whole city-side of the park that you can dance in if you’re so inclined. Did I mention that it is literally directly in downtown San Diego, and right on the water?! Umm, dream venue… if there were any venue to not have camping and have me be ok with it, it would be here. What a fantastic excuse to explore the whales vagina San Diego and see some great music at the same time!

Here are the Crssd Festival Stages:


The Palms

Right when you get in, the Palms is the first stage on the south side of the venue. This is the slightly more genre- ambiguous stage of the three, but will generally have more of the harder-hitting artists of the group. If there’s a more dubby, tech house-y, or electro-y artist, they will probably be on this stage.

City Steps

Dive deep into the depths at this middle stage. All the deepest house and techno will be here! Yum.

Ocean View

Headliners and live acts at this stage, pretty much considered the main stage. Most live performances (live instruments and/or vocals) tended to be on this stage along with the main headliners.


Crssd Festival Crowd

I thought Crssd would be pretty much all Southern Californian, but I was actually really impressed with the variety!! I would still say pretty much everyone came from the west coast, but some came from as far as Seattle or SF for this. I mean, with lineups like CRSSD pulls in, it’s not surprising! I don’t think I met any non-Americans, though.

CRSSD is a 21+ festival, and prides itself on being more trendy and less ravey, outfit-wise. It literally says in the rules that they won’t allow fuzzy boots and that kind of jazz inside (do people even still wear those?!) so they’re pretty serious about everyone being chill and not…. well… rave children.


With that being said about the non-rave CRSSD festival outfits rule and no one under 21 allowed, CRSSD sets itself up for a more mature and refined festival vibe. Think… sitting on the edge of the fountains sipping a super fancy craft beer while listening to some fantastic live vocals and watching the sunset over the San Diego harbor. Sound good? Thought so.

I have to include that even with this more ‘refined’ or ‘mature’ vibe CRSSD festival shoots for, it’s no less open and awesome than any other festival. If you ever read my festival posts you know what I mean by ‘festival vibes’ AKA my favorite things in the world AKA pretty much just the innate openness and radical inclusion experienced amongst all diverse types of humans at music festivals… they’re still present in full force here. Go up and talk to anyone, start conversations with strangers, share the incredible rare phenomenon of being in the same place as everyone for the same reason… and enjoy it, because festivals are one of the only places this happens!!


CRSSD Atmosphere/Decorations

Crssd actually has a pretty cool atmosphere going on. I would describe it as fairly jungle-y and foresty with a touch of oceanfront. Ha, that made no sense. But a few of the stages are set up with wood and plants all over the place, with shades made of leafy material. One stage was made totally out of dark wood, and another had wooden parasol umbrellas hanging above the whole thing. The decorations and shade areas are fairly minimalistic yet effective… and, along with the rest of CRSSD festival, refined and trendy. It worked well.

The production value at the stages was also phenomenal, especially the main (ocean front) stage. Like, wow. Some of the lighting and stage effects blew my mind.


CRSSD Lineup/Music/Artists

Crssd festival always brings in a fantastic lineup of talent. They’ve always got headliners to attract the masses (Flume, Bob Moses, Flight Facilities, Duke Dumont, Aluna George, etc in the past) but equally amazing more niche headlining artists to bring in their whole ‘refined’ house + techno crowd (there I go with that word again!). Think, Seth Troxler, Eats Everything, Matador, John Digweed, Yotto, Mija, Moon Boots, Justin Martin, Anti Up, Heidi… etc.

They always have a really diverse lineup of both live acts and dj’s, from a really wide range of genres within the electronic-focused sector!


Yeah, there’s no camping at CRSSD. Stay with a friend, cram into a hotel, or figure something else out! Ain’t nobody got space for that, smack in the middle of downtown SD.

bloody mary san diego

Yeah, this is a Bloody Mary in downtown San Diego. I don’t know either.

CRSSD Festival Amenities (Other Stuff to Do)

So I add in this category for most of my festival reviews, but as Crssd festival is more of a music-focused festival at a venue that isn’t the biggest, there isn’t exactly space for things like yoga classes, workshops, and other ‘amenities’ other festivals might have. There isn’t even time for it amongst all the amazing artists to see! Also, being that CRSSD is not a camping festival, it’s not the type that you can wake up early to attend any other events before the music starts. It’s all about the music here… oh, and good food and drink.

BUT – there is A LOT of ‘other stuff to do’ in San Diego! For this festival I would simply consider its prime location as it’s ‘other stuff to do.’ Make sure you check out the San Diego waterfront, wander around the Gaslamp District at night or go out for a trendy brunch there before the fest, after-party at and of SD’s top notch clubs, grab dinner in Little Italy… the possibilities are endless! Make sure you leave time to check out beautiful San Diego. Below are some of the best things to do in SD before/after CRSSD festival!

Crssd After Dark

Crssd comes with a lot of after parties packaged in, which are really hard to resist! The fest ends at 10/11pm each night, so it would pretty much be rude not to kick on somewhere in the Gaslamp and check out some bars and clubs SD has to offer. You’ll be looking to pay anything from $20-$50 for CRSSD after dark parties (cheaper in presales!) at which a lot of the festival artists will be playing… or just go bar hopping!


CRSSD Transportation/Hotels/Parking

Most people at Crssd fest stay in a hotel in SD’s downtown area. There are tons, and many won’t mind if you casually cram a few more people in there. We Stayed at La Pensione once, which was walking distance to the festival and had an ocean view (despite having to sleep on the floor, ha). I know there are tons of hotels, just check this link for the best hotels in San Diego and choose one that’s close to either Waterfront Park or other activities you want to do.

I also stayed in a lovely and quaint San Diego Airbnb for one CRSSD, and loved it. They do fill up quickly for the weekend so make sure to look and book early.

Parking is impossible. We drove around for ages trying to find a place to leave my car, and ended up having to uber to the hotel from where we parked! The festival offers some pre-approved parking passes that you can pay for, which might honestly be a better idea, but (as with anywhere in California, ugh) you’ll always eventually find a spot of you drive around long enough! ???? Maybe find a hotel that has parking included; that would be clutch.

As far as transportation goes, this is the type of situation where you’ll want to just Uber or Lyft everywhere. Leave your car somewhere for the weekend and grab lyfts to and from the venue, bars, or food places!


CRSSD Food/Drink

The ‘trendy’ vibe carries through in the food and drink options at Crssd festival. I think they had over 15 craft beer options at the bars, of all possible types you can imagine. I got a mango flavored wheat beer at one point, and it was fantastic. You’ll be looking to pay $10-$12 for beers here!

As far as food goes, there was a stand for pretty much every taste. Tacos, burritos, fresh cut fruit, pizza, smoothies, dumplings, pies, gourmet hot dogs, gyros, and greek salads are just a few options, so you’ll definitely never go hungry! In fact, you’ll most definitely be spoilt for choice.

Food/Drink in San Diego

I had to make a separate section for this because there are sooooo many amazing places to eat and drink in San Diego! You can’t leave and re-enter the venue each day, but its a great idea to fuel up on some brunch before entering each day. I got the most ridic bloody mary I have every had (with an actual grilled cheese on a stick within it, along with all sorts of veggies) at this place called Cafe 21 – highly recommended!

CRSSD Festival Price

Price varies very heavily upon when you buy your ticket. If you want to wait until the last minute (like yours truly and I hate myself for it), you’ll be looking at $180. If you are on top of the presale, you can get as low as $115! Worth it though? For festivals, in my eyes, always.

On top of the ticket price you’ll of course want to budget in splitting a hotel or Airbnb if you can’t stay with anyone, food costs, drink costs, and anything else you may need. Save money by bringing snacks, or splurge a bit on the great food options in the area and the delectable craft beer. Up to you!


CRSSD Security + Rules

You’ll be looking to line up at the south side of the park for a good 20 minutes for ID check before waiting another 5 or so for bag and ticket checks and pat-downs. They are actually fairly strict at this festival with certain random things you can’t bring in (see below), so I would read up on the website before you go just to be safe.

The security was much tighter on the second day than the first day for some reason. I just waltzed right in with my DSLR on the first day, and they turned me away with it the second day (although it was still finagled in of course :P). I saw people get turned away with paint pens, LIP GLOSS (no joke… they apparently do not allow open lip gloss or chapstick), and some other random things. They will check all your bags and do a light pat down before you get your ticket scanned to go in.

CRSSD Weather

I will start by saying that the weather in San Diego is nearly ALWAYS perfect, sunny, and just around 75 degrees. But, this weekend in Spring ’17 we got a little bit short-changed by the weather. It was perfect all week before and after the festival, but on the Saturday and Sunday of the festival we got clouds and even a tiny bit of rain (kindof unheard of to be honest!). A lot of people still got away with warm weather outfits, though, and we were actually very happy with our decision to look like idiots on purpose and bring in rain ponchos.

At night time, however, it did get very cold. I would recommend bringing in some warm clothes and jackets for night time and leaving them in a locker until you need them. The CRSSD lockers are $25 for two days, super easy to access, and you can leave stuff in them overnight!


CRSSD Outfits: What to Wear to CRSSD

Fashion at Crssd is, again, very trendy. As I mentioned before they have a strict “no rave” policy here, meaning they don’t allow furry boots or things of the like. Now, I don’t know how enforced that is, but most people definitely toe a perfect line between trendiness and festival weirdness.

Everyone will be fashion-forward wearing super cute outfits, perhaps embellished a bit by extra jewelry, colorful wigs, bedazzled hats, hair styling, glitter/face gems, or face paint being that it’s a festival. So, I would go with a cute outfit with festival-esque embellishments. When it’s a bit hotter, CRSSD outfits lean more toward bathing suits and warm-weather clothes (like a bathing suit top and high waisted shorts for example). But, in colder weather, think cute jackets or boots and well-thought-out outfits, and throw on a cute wig or glitter.

For the boys, what to wear to CRSSD is basically always a party shirt. Pick a fun and festive button-up and you’re basically good to go… Add in some shiny tights if if you really want to send it.

Bathrooms at CRSSD Festival

There are long lines of porta-potties basically along the city-side of the whole festival. Unfortunately I don’t think there are any regular bathrooms within the grounds, but they keep the porta-potties pretty clean.

CRSSD Timings

CRSSD fest runs from noon until eleven on Saturday, and from noon until ten on Sunday!

I would say that most people came in around 2-5, and most people also went out afterwards to bars in the Gaslamp district or to official after parties (especially on Saturday). Get ready to rally for a long day!

What do you think of CRSSD festival? Do you have any extra tips that I should have included? Let me know in the comments!!

Author: Anna Johnson

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