FESTIVAL BEAT: CRSSD Spring 2024 Preview

Post Author: Jeff Cubbison

Dance music fest returns to Waterfront Park with Jeff Mills, Richie Hawtin, Rex Axes, Sofia Kourtesis & many more

Time to bust out your HOUSE x TECHNO jackets, because we’re just over two weeks away from CRSSD’s spring edition. The electronic music summit and staple of the southern California festival scene returns to San Diego’s Waterfront Park on March 2-3 for another weekend packed with live bands, DJ sets, and pure dance vibes.

Once again, the festival has made it easy for listeners to do their homework, as the three main stages of CRSSD perfectly separate artists by genre and presentation. The Ocean View stage – the largest structure that overlooks the picturesque San Diego harbor – will play host to live electronic acts including headliners Tale Of Us and Lane 8. Meanwhile, the City Steps stage – the most compact and intimate of the stages and bordering the steps of the City Hall building – will become an oasis of heavy-hitting techno, featuring sets from legendary DJs like Jeff Mills, Jooris Vorn, Richie Hawtin and more. And then there’s the colorful, palm tree-adorned Palms Stage, which will conjure a vibe dominant on shimmering house music and breezy moods.

Set times have not been released yet, but until then, I’m highlighting a handful of acts below that we plan on prioritizing for our CRSSD weekend. Feel free to check out our picks and preview their sets via YouTube, which we’ve included below. And as always, rave responsibly!


DJ Heartstring

DJ Heartstring really know how to incorporate futuristic, forward-thinking sounds into a tried-and-true formula. A truly sensational Berlin-based duo who deliver rave-ready textures straddling techno and trance, but with nuanced builds, peaks, and drops that’ll keep you hooked from start-to-finish. At present they’re scheduled for the City Steps, which would make for a perfect mid-afternoon bevy of sentimental bangers.


One for the older heads, the group GusGus are legendary vets who burst to prominence in the late ’90s rave movement. Hailing from Iceland, they’ve released over a dozen albums and have incorporated a revolving door of touring members, but lead singer and producer Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson has been steering the ship since the beginning. With elements of house, techno, downtempo, and ambient, GusGus will bring vibes akin to Underworld and other ’90s staples to the Ocean View stage.

Kruder & Dorfmeister

Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister have been an indefatigable force for so many years in the electronic music scene, and they continue to operate at the top of their game. The Austrian duo have been cultivating dark, moody beats since the early ’90s, with pieces of trip hop, breakbeat, and nu jazz filling up their arsenal with brilliant presentation in a live setting as well. Expect them to bring the moody vibes as day turns to night on the Ocean View stage.

Red Axes

Red Axes are one of the more offbeat, leftfield acts on the CRSSD lineup, and gloriously so. Repping the dance music scene of Tel Aviv, the duo of Niv Arzi and Dori Sadovnik have been making music together since they were young teenagers, developing their kinetic style of electronica that also incorporates other genres like garage rock, psychedelic, post-punk, disco, and many other disparate styles. Somehow, all the diversity and experimentation really works, and even more so in a live setting. The Ocean View crowd is going to go ballistic for them.


Jeff Mills

One of the most important and pioneering artists in the history of Detroit’s electronic underground, Jeff Mills is the elder statesman on this lineup who will no doubt put on a clinic for all the younger acts to marvel at. Detroit techno and minimal techno is the name of the game for Mills, and even after 40 years in the business, he still manages to lay down DJ sets that are pummeling, psychedelic, and impossible to predict. Without a doubt the perfect headliner for the City Steps stage on Sunday night.

Richie Hawtin

Another legendary figure in electronic music, the British-Canadian DJ-producer Richie Hawtin has been a consistent force in the scene ever since the late ’80s, serving up a fascinating fusion of minimal techno, acid techno, and big room IDM. Whether he’s performing under his eye-popping Plakstiman moniker or his own name, you know you’re in for a trippy, futuristic journey through progressive electronica. Night time at the City Steps stage will be a face-melter.


At one point in time, SBTRKT was one of the hottest names in the scene – especially during the early 2010s post-dubstep and and UK garage renaissance. Although he’s retreated a bit more underground in recent years, he hasn’t lost a step at all, with foreboding live performances demonstrating his instrumental talent as well as his ability to curate a haunting sonic journey. I’d expect a tightly executed, moody set to permeate the sunset hours on Ocean View on Sunday.

Sofia Kourtesis

Looking for an eclectic afternoon dance party? Soufia Kourtesis has got you covered. The Peruvian DJ-producer recently released Madres, an expansive house album and one of our favorites of 2023, and she’ll no doubt deliver tropical, effervescent sonic landscapes to chill out and groove to for hours. Sunday at the Palms stage will be a perfect sunny spectacle to take in her breezy, shimmering club rhythms and aura of spiritual healing.