March – the Wednesday of months, getting us over that winter hump with the start of our favorite season: festival season!
Over on our side of the pond, festival season kicked off with California’s newest golden child, CRSSD. CRSSD has made a name for itself as a forward thinking line-up for all that is good in dark and dirty techno. CRSSD was launched only a year ago, and almost on queue. At a time when the great slightly jaded ravers like myself began fearing the electronic music festival culture we knew and loved was an endangered species, CRSSD was a saving movement that promised us true ‘EDM’ culture is still very much alive. You just have to find the right places to look.
Similar reviews of CRSSD claim the nascent festival has returned dance music to its roots. While California or North America may be miles away from the events on your personal 2016 lineup, with the start of a new season, here are some tips on how to make the most of your festival experiences – wherever they may be.
Plan for everything so that you can invite serendipity
Logistics are a pain in the arse. For a smaller festival such as CRSSD, it’s fairly easy to drift between the three stages, and the after parties were in plenty supply. But in general, figuring out the details (both major and minor) beforehand allows you to enjoy the festival once it actually arrives. Whether that is planning key acts you must see, or purchasing Cirez- D after party tickets in advance because you know they’ll sell out (which they did), your time will be best spent when it’s focused more on the party, and less on how to keep the party going. Seemingly paradoxically, when you plan for everything, you allow for anything to happen.
Pack a bag for inclement weather
Until the summer months are in full swing, the weather can be quite unpredictable. Even in (typically) sunny San Diego, the weather was bipolar, shifting from sun to rain without fair warning. A handy backpack and layers allowed us to migrate the changes at the open-air festival easily, so when it started raining during the groovy sounds of Lee Foss, the mist was a refreshing welcome rather than a detracting annoyance.
Do unto others as you want done unto you
The festival culture died when we stopped being courteous to one another. Help those in need; when you see someone that looks like they’re having a hard time, offer some water, food, or even a hug. There was a moment at Gesaffelstein when amidst the Gotham-like anarchy party, I noticed a girl sitting on the ground – if you’ve ever been to a Gesaffelstein set, you know that’s not what one typically does. I then witnessed someone reached down to make sure she was ok, and it was clear she just wanted to be acknowledged. There’s a reason CRSSD fans call themselves members of the “CRSSD family”, and this was one of many inspiring instances proving the rave scene is not dead.
Festivals can be emotional experiences and engender pretty strong emotions; most of the time, those emotions are positive, wondrous, moments of connections and love – other times, they’re painful reminders. So be a friend, and look out for your fellow festival goers.
Have your crew but don’t be afraid to venture on your own
There’s nothing better than going to a festival with a large group of friends, but groups greater than five quickly become hard to manage. Suddenly you’re spending more of your time herding cats rather than doing what you came for – listening to the music.
Towards the end of Day 1 of CRSSD, I bid ado as I took a break from the heavy techno beats in search of lighter fare. Odesza was closing out Ocean View (CRSSD’s main stage), and the lights called me in like a moth to a flame. I found an open patch of grass in the back and danced on my own as day turned into night. My friend joined me for the last song, and we danced side by side as Odesza closed out with their emotive remix of “Something About You.”
All for one, and one for all: remember why you love attending festivals in the first place.
If a festival can be summarized as the sum of each person’s experience as a collective, it follows that you make up the experience for yourselves and everyone in the crowd. The reason we prefer attending music festivals rather than just listening to the music on our own is because we want a break from the norm and feel a part of something bigger.
Festivals like CRSSD are your chance to be wild and free, to be someone else for a day or to be completely yourself, and express yourself in a way you normally conceal. To dance your heart out lost in the dark music of Maceo Plex or bond with a stranger over Lane 8’s remix of “Sweet Disposition.” Because as you look out to the golden crowd ensconced by a sunset and palm trees on the horizon, you realize it doesn’t get any sweeter.