For those of you who thought that the dark and sultry underground days of the U.S were nearly dead, III Points has something to prove to you. The three-day music, arts, and technology festival was recently held in Miami’s blossoming Wynwood Arts District for its second edition. Coming in bigger and more prepared than last year’s debut, III Points was an unquestionable success. The combination and connection of both live and electronic music, with trippy art pieces and intricate technology, made for a truly unique experience that brought both locals and non-natives together under one roof. With this year’s edition down in the books, let’s take some time to review and reflect upon what made III Points so special.
Let’s start with the obvious. One of the main draws of III Points was its stellar line-up of both electronic acts and live bands. While there was without a doubt a strong presence of electronic music DJs on the lineup, they were by no means your typical South Beach style EDM superstars. No, these acts represented the underground, the deep, and the weird (and I mean that in the best way). Headlining the electronic department of the festival were house and techno forerunner Jamie Jones, breakthrough deep house artist Duke Dumont, Jamie XX of the London based band The XX, and breakout abstract producer Cashmere Cat.
The lineup wasn’t comprised solely of DJs however. There were a significant number of live acts and bands, both well known and local. In fact, two of the most hyped up acts for the festival were Flying Lotus and Chet Faker. Flying Lotus put on a dazzling performance in his live Layer3 setup. The two transparent scrims, one in front and one behind him, projected A Space Odyssey’s classic “Stargate” scene to help create a stunning display of psychedelic visuals. Chet Faker also triumphed with his concurrent combination of singing and DJing. Faker’s presence took over the Mainframe stage as fans swayed and sung along to each and every one of his songs. Other winners that performed included UK electropop group Metronomy, and Jamie Jones’ own electronic group Hot Natured, who made their U.S debut at the festival.
One of the questions that floated around in my head prior to the festival was how the production team was going to fit four different stages in one venue. Soho Studios isn’t exactly Bayfront Park, and sound bleeding from different stages was definitely a concern. Fortunately, this was never an issue as the four stages, Sector 3, Mainframe, Skatespace, and Mindmelt, fit perfectly in each location and had their own unique atmosphere. In fact, the craft that was put into making each of the stages was one of the highlights of the entire festival.
Upon entering the festival grounds, attendees were immediately transported to a delightfully illuminated, yet dilapidated looking village. This was Sector 3, a piece that was meant to resemble a post-apocalyptic world where people had to rummage through old goods to build shelter. That wasn’t its only purpose however, as Sector 3 doubled as the first stage of the festival. Tucked away under a tent in the corner of the outdoor space was the DJ booth, where people had the opportunity to groove while also immersing themselves into a different world.
Sector 3 was directly connected to the main building of Soho Studios that housed the next stage, Mainframe. Although the Mainframe was the largest of the stages, it was still enclosed enough to maintain an intimate warehouse-like aura inside. While Mainframe acted as the platform for many of the performing headliners, it wasn’t necessarily the biggest hit. One blemish that was noticeable throughout the Mainframe was that the sound was not balanced. At points the bass was so loud that it overwhelmed the other instrumentals throughout the artists’ sets. Other than this one flaw, the Mainframe succeeded in serving as the centerpiece for the festival.
The only other indoor stage from Mainframe was the adjacent Skatespace. This stage was unique for a variety of reasons. For one, Skatespace literally served as a skate place, as goers could rent out roller skates and cruise around a makeshift roller rink. In the back of the room was the DJ booth, which, unlike other stages, was on the floor of the room. With this on-the-floor setup, Skatespace was so enjoyable because it gave off such a personal and intimate vibe similar to that of a Boiler Room set. Acts like Cashmere Cat thrived here as people bounced and moved to his combination of eclectic electronic and jersey club tracks, all while standing right by him.
The last stage at III Points was Mindmelt, located outside at the back of Soho Studios. Mindmelt was a refreshing change of pace as the fresh air was able to cool off the crowd from the hot stages inside. However, when the stage did start to fill up, moving in and out between the different stages became a hassle and inconvenience. This didn’t stop people from catching a variety of their favorite acts like Canadian singer Mac Demarco or electronic dance band Hercules and Love Affair.
Art and Technology
The two other points aside from music that make up III points is art and technology. Both of these things are present at almost any festival and most of the time, they go overlooked. This however, was certainly not the case at III Points. Both art and technology flourished at III Points, and it was difficult not to take the time of night to appreciate the diligent craft around you. As previously mentioned, Sector 3 was an immersive art installation that doubled as a stage location. The run-down school bus in Sector 3 was a crowd favorite as they had the opportunity to sit within the structure, relax and observe all that was around them. Inside the Mainframe, projectors entertained crowds by screening mind-bending animations of morphing figures. Out at Mindmelt, a vibrant mosaic wall stood tall in the back reinstating the importance of art and tech to the people at III Points. The two elements were everywhere and anywhere around III Points producing an earnestly engaging and entrancing encounter.
While music, art, and tech were the components that made up III Points, it was the fans that glued the whole experience together. Although the festival was an all ages event, it was hard to spot out anyone under the legal drinking age. The crowd was mature and mannerly, ready to enjoy the party. The beauty of the people there was also in that each person was distinctly ‘singular’, showcasing some of his or her best and most creative outfits to contribute to the overall aesthetic of the festival. III Points emphasized art, and the people did not hesitate to contribute.
The III Points experience was one that was truly like no other. The modest venue made for a genuinely intimate event where people connected with the music, technology, art, and most importantly each other. While goers may be sad that the festival has now come and gone, there is also a sense of excitement for what will come with next year’s return. With the huge success that the festival had this time around, there is without a doubt that next year’s III Points will come back stronger than before, chock full of delightfully abstract surprises.