It’s been a year and a half – 18 months and 17 days to be exact – since the CRSSD Festival last opened its doors. But everything changes this weekend.
Local promoters FNGRS CRSSD bring their namesake experience back to Waterfront Park on Saturday and Sunday for two full days of music.
Like so many other live events, the popular biannual electronic music festival died out during the pandemic. However, since California’s COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the CRSSD has slowly rebuilt its brand – from small one-off events at Belmont Park’s Beach House and Quartyard in the East Village to the big day in August. .
Since its inception in 2015, CRSSD has consistently assembled an impressive and eclectic lineup that spans both generations and genres. This weekend’s iteration is no different. With artists like Zhu, Camelphat, Aluna, Jamie Jones, Carl Craig, Seth Troxler, ANNA, Hot Since 82 and Boys Noize set to perform, it almost seems like the CRSSD never left.
Kaytranada: With a Polaris Music Award and several Juno Awards already to his name, Canadian producer and DJ Kevin Celestin recently won two Grammys for his second album, “Bubba,” including one for Best Dance / Electronic Album. The Haitian-born, Montreal-raised artist has also produced pieces for Anderson .Paak, Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Chet Faker and Talib Kweli.
Sasha and John Digweed: The peanut butter and jelly of electronic music, this British DJ duo have spent more time behind the decks – both individually and together – than the average age of most CRSSD attendees. Despite independent success, as well as multiple breakups / reunions, the couple have never officially quit and are joining forces again. Like Carl Craig, his colleague at CRSSD, the duo are a staple in house and techno culture.
Jon Hopkins: The Mercury-nominated Grammy-nominated composer / producer began as a classically trained pianist. His varied career includes producing and touring with Coldplay, playing in the band Imogen Heap, composing soundtracks to Gareth Edwards and Peter Jackson films, and remixing Four Tet, Nosaj Thing and David Lynch. Her sixth studio album, “Music for Psychedelic Therapy”, will be released in November.
Flying Lotus: The Los Angeles-based DJ-producer (aka Steven Ellison) is the great-nephew of Alice Coltrane and founder of the Brainfeeder label. He is a regular music contributor to Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and has produced artists like Mac Miller, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and Danny Brown. Ellison won a Grammy for his production of Thundercat’s 2020 album, “It Is What It Is,” and released his seventh studio album, “Yasuke,” a soundtrack from the Netflix series of the same name which he also produced by management.
Kelly Lee Owens: The Welsh DJ, producer and singer began her career experiencing the healing powers of music at a cancer hospital where she worked as a nursing assistant. She continued to work with artists such as Björk, St. Vincent, Daniel Avery, Jenny Hval and her fellow CRSSD performer Jon Hopkins. Owens has released two full albums, including last year’s “Inner Song”, which features a cover of Radiohead’s “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi” and an appearance by John Cale of The Velvet Underground.
The importance of music and art during the pandemic: “Take all the music, movies and art with you. Take the books to your shelf. Take it all off and ask yourself how you would have coped? I know that for me it wouldn’t have been very good. So I see it as a ray of hope that people seem to be enjoying something like music again. It helps us to understand how it transports us in life. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Back to live shows: “It’s so special to be back. Obviously, this has been incredibly difficult for so many people. But we also had the time and space to think about things like ‘what do I really want’, ‘who am I’ and ‘what makes me really happy? It allowed us to re-evaluate our work and our lives. It gives people time to think. And now I just think everyone is so happy to be together again, listening to music and dancing. It was magic. It’s a two-way street between artists and people who listen to music. We need each other. There is no separation. And I’m so grateful to be a part of it again.
When: Doors open on Saturday and Sunday noon
Or: Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Coast Highway, downtown
Align: Zhu, Camelphat, Aluna, Jamie Jones, Carl Craig, Seth Troxler, ANNA, Hot Since 82 and Boys Noize
COVID Protocol: The CRSSD follows state COVID-19 guidelines, encouraging masks and social distancing.
Tickets: $ 125 to $ 135
In line: crssdfest.com
McDonald is a freelance writer.