This was the inaugural year of III Points, a festival that combined music, art and technology to create an experience similar to Austin's South by Southwest. Set in the heart of Wynwood, the festival featured more than 30 events over three days that would whet the appetite of even the most jaded hipster. While not perfect, III Points had a commendable first year, and we hope it will return.
MANA Production Village (a massive soundstage often used for movie productions) hosted the two largest shows of the weekend, Point Bass with DJ Shadow and XXYYXX and Point Blank with James Murphy and Jamie XX. The main stage set-up was surprisingly great, with fantastic sound and an incredible video display We especially loved the art that adorned the space, which included a grand holographic entrance created by Agustina Woodgate and a large-scale multimedia installation by artist collective TVVINHAUS that was audacious and inspired.
The DJs who headlined the shows did not disappoint. DJ Shadow went all out for his final U.S. show of the year, throwing down hard beats that left the crowd going wild. While much of that crowd cleared the space after his show, those who stayed witnessed the 17-year-old DJ prodigy XXYYXX commanding the stage with talent that exceeds his years, playing a set that eschewed massive beats and drops for a more downtempo, industrial sound. Jamie XX has been known primarily for his work on indie band the XX, and his set had flashes of their ethereal sound while bringing things up a notch for the the dancefloor. James Murphy (formerly of LCD Soundsystem) was possibly the most anticipated act of the weekend, and he did not disappoint in the slightest. His set showed off his encyclopedic knowledge of music, featuring obscure tracks recalling funk, disco, neu-disco, and house that were infinitely infectious and witty while still being accessible for the whole audience.
There were a number of other highlights. The best of Thursday night was undoubtedly Miami Horror's show at Bardot, where the Australian indie-pop outfit showcased their talents in a 60-minute set. While the set was brief, it was light and fun, playing their most popular songs with aplomb. For Vinyl Disco with Juan Maclean and Benton, Gramps was filled to the brim with partiers showing their support for all things vinyl and looking to get their groove on. Their sets were smart and catchy with the crowd dancing up a storm well into the wee hours of the night. Kryogenefix threw the amazing Deep Freeze party at their headquarters featuring all things liquid nitrogen, including freeze guns, a dancefloor that would fill up with a cloud of liquid nitrogen and ice cream made with the cold gas and coconuts supplied by Coconut Cartel (as well as amazing beats by Chalk, Gooddroid and Jacques Greene). YACHT brought their too-cool-for-school sound to Cafeina, where they performed a live set that highlighted their main hits like the immensely catchy "Psychic City" as well as deep cuts that the crowd was pleased to discover. Artist duo TM Sisters showcased a collection of their video art at a pop-up exhibition where all the work was playing on Samsung devices, a smart synergy of corporate and artistic interests.
The festival was not without hitches. Many of the locations were unfamiliar to festival attendees, and several of the schedules failed to include addresses, leaving many people confused and lost (a post late Friday night on Bardot's Facebook page shows that many people had trouble finding the MANA Production Village). In addition, several events had incorrect information like wrong times or artists who were not performing; more perplexingly, information differed depending on which of the several schedules you were looking at. The flashy festival app was very convenient but was only available for Android devices, leaving out iOS users. The so-called All Access pass (which cost well over $100) failed to include access to any of the shows at Bardot or Grand Central, meaning fans who wanted to see Miami Horror, Hercules & Love Affair or T. Williams & Mosca at Bardot or the Bromance or Body High showcases at Grand Central had to cough up an additional fee (usually 20 to $30 per show). And while there was a lot to see this weekend, the vast majority of the events took place on Saturday, which meant that you were bound to miss an event you were interested in seeing because so many of the events were taking place at the same time. It'd have been better to have spread out the events more evenly throughout the weekend rather than have a one-day barrage.
Despite our reservations, we felt III Points was a success. We loved that the majority of the events were free and so many of the events during the festival were near each other, highlighting how walkable of a community Wynwood has become. Despite first-year kinks, the team behind III Points managed to bring sizeable talents and feature them in a way that did the acts justice. A festival like III Points is something Miami has needed for a long time.