Miami festival III Points makes a case for forever

This despite being nearly blown away by bad luck in 2016 and 2017.

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click to enlarge Tyler, the Creator at III Points 2019 in Miami, Florida. - Gabby Santos
Gabby Santos
Tyler, the Creator at III Points 2019 in Miami, Florida.

III Points — Wynwood, Miami’s resident music, art and technology festival — has made a name for itself by being able to mirror its host city, echoing the edge, flash and exclusivity that Miami’s known for.

The independent alternative festival has been able to maintain success despite competition from neighboring fests like Ultra, Rolling Loud and, in recent years, Okeechobee by hosting world-class A-listers, exclusive one-off performances and some of Miami’s brightest up-and-coming acts. Despite its critical successes, the festival was forced to make a change this past year due to the financial impact that hurricanes Matthew and Irma had left on attendance in 2016 and 2017, respectively. In response, the festival opted to skip the 2018 season, returning in 2019 with a new spring date in February.

III Points returned with a triumphant effort Friday night, offering relatively early headlining sets from some of its biggest stars. The festival’s schedule typically spreads acts out from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m., but attempted to draw a typically late-arriving Miami crowd in early by booking some of its flashier names before midnight. This gave fans a chance to explore the intricate layout of the festival, which spread the music and art across eight stages and art spaces.

On Friday, the Mind Melt main stage was stacked with talent, as The Internet, Beach House and Tyler, the Creator performed back-to-back-to-back. Led by Syd, The Internet received one of the warmest receptions of the night (Miami last saw the group when it opened for the late Mac Miller at the Fillmore).

While Toro y Moi performed a DJ set over in the warehouse-like Main Frame stage, Tyler, the Creator took over on main, donning a bright green bucket hat and sweater vest. The Cali rapper was as animated as ever, flying through shock-rap and R&B hits from his recent album, Flower Boy. Later on, he brought A$AP Rocky out to perform a few songs to close the set, a joint performance the two would repeat for Rocky’s headlining set on Sunday.

The post-midnight headlining honors were left to Virtual Self, the now Grammy-nominated side project of electronic legend Porter Robinson. The Main Frame’s lighting setup — which featured sections of light beams adorned on either side with an extensive amount of fixtures and lasers erected from above and on stage — was a perfect catalyst to special effect-intensive techno set from Robinson. But despite these standout performances from the festival’s lead men, it was the ladies that shined the most this past weekend.

After the aforementioned Friday performance from Syd, Saturday’s Mind Melt stage was graced with the heavenly talent of Top Dawg-affiliate SZA. Wearing high waisted jeans and a cherry-red chiffon blouse, the 28-year-old seemed radiant on stage with both her appearance and generational vocal talent. In a set that went by entirely too quick, she primarily stuck with material from 2017 album CNTRL. She even cleared the air over the turbulent future of her reportedly up-in-the-air follow-up album.

“I don't know who said that shit isn't happening,” the star said mid-set. “I’m halfway done.”

Following up on the Main Frame stage, the girl power continued with Korean-American electronic act Yaeji, whose quirky, fun house set had the entire room packed in and bumping.

While both Main Frame and Mind Melt hosted most of the big-name attractions, the festival’s other stages served as attractions in their own right.

Situated in the back of the festival was the Isotropic stage, a house-music home base set up as a plant-adorned atrium, similar to Miami nightlife fixture Club Space. Acting as another house music setting was the nearby Boiler Room-sponsored stage, a dark, smoky room mirroring Boiler Room’s YouTube-viral stage setup, with fans dancing in close quarters and, in some cases, on stage with the DJ.

Adjoined to the Main Frame was the Heineken room that hosted the Aether art installation by Max Cooper and the Architecture Social Club. Throughout the weekend, masses of fans opted to lounge on the installment turf where they could pile in to watch a special light field created with high-powered lasers. III Points even offered a Skate Space roller rink stage presented by Stillhouse, which allowed attendees to rent skates and jam to a DJ booth towering above the rink.

III Points worked largely in part due to its ability to effectively emulate its host community in Wynwood, which for years now has offered exciting new takes on what is and can be modern art. At each stage and performance you were constantly blown away by something exciting and new, yet the festival’s exceptional attention to both art and music often left you wanting to explore what was just around the corner.

While the festival took a hiatus in 2018 due to financial windfall, they spared no expense in 2019 by giving fans every bit of the vibe and aesthetic they so proudly boast. Unlike mainstream fests booking analogous, star-heavy lineups to guarantee a return, III Points (in its year of need) doubled down on its promise to uphold an entirely unique niche of their own, a bet that resoundingly paid off over Presidents Day weekend.

About The Author

LJ Hilberath

Franz “LJ” Hilberath is a Clearwater-native who contributes to Creative Loafing's Music section. He previously served as an intern and is now a freelance contributor for all things music.LJ can be found in the field reviewing concerts and music festivals around the country, and also works interviews for both local...
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