This past weekend marked the sixth and most successful installment of Miami’s III Points music festival. Somewhat of a hike for Jacksonville natives, but nonetheless a road trip that was well worth the drive. The massive lineup featuring names like James Blake, Erykah Badu, Blood Orange, SZA, Beach House and Herbie Hancock, connected all genres, fusing R&B, hip hop, jazz, neo-soul, funk and rock. Many performances blended all of these genres with electronic artists using these influences in their own performances and sets to create dance parties lasting all night long.
Over the past 15 years I have attended Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, the Newport Folk Festival, Okeechobee Music Festival, Ultra, Shaky Knees and many more. I can say without a doubt that III Point’s 2019 takes that spot for my favorite and most beloved music festival thus far. The level of production and organization is unparalleled and has only improved over the past few years. The III Points team has figured out the best way for use the space of Mana Wynwood to create a musical island in the middle of Florida’s most excessive and extravagant city. Once on the festival grounds, attendees quickly forget that they are in Miami, let alone on Earth, as patrons literally walk through a portal of light to get into grounds. Festival goers and III Points staff members were always kind and courteous to one another and the weekend seemed to be nothing but good vibes. As the sun set each night, everyone communed under the moon-sized disco ball to share their love for all things music. And as always, III Points continues to show tons of love to the local artists and musicians, which may be the most rewarding aspect of the festival. It is hard to comprehend how such a seemingly large festival can still feel so small and intimate, like that secret spot you only tell your close friends. As the festival has experienced exponential growth over the past few years, it has still maintained its identity, successfully carving itself a permanent place in Florida’s music scene.
From SZA’s “Kiss Me” cover to the Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky’s guest appearances at each other’s sets, the weekend was filled with many surprises. Other highlights include James Blake, who was performing for this first time since releasing his latest album, Assume Form, treating the crowd to many of the album’s tracks and not forgetting to show the utmost appreciation and love for fans at the festival. Yaeji also provided one of the weekend’s most exciting sets with her allstar performance, mixing electronic and hip hop vibes over sweet and soft English and Korean lyrics. Porter Robinson as Virtual Self brought what I thought to be one of the festival’s greatest light displays of the past six installments, all fueled by the 90’s-esque Mortal Kombat rave music Robinson creates. Local favorites include an intoxicatingly dreamy set by Austin Paul, who seems to have undoubtedly found his voice and style in the realm of music. Poorgrrrl provided a rather avant-garde performance with help from Rat Bastard and other Miami favorites. While Miami local Otto Von Schirach gave one of the most outrageous and fun sets of the weekend with a full team of dancers that included a giant cat, a spaceman, Cleopatra, and scantily clad muscle men, all of which are members of his Bermuda Triangle Gang that dance on stage and in the crowd.
For the art installations, Mokibaby’s Weedmaps inspired school bus was one of the major hangouts and places where fans could sit down, have a drink and even roll a smoke, all while watching acts on the Sector 3 stage. Festival goers were also able to get information on despeneries and obtaining a medical marijuana card on site thanks to the good people of Trulieve. Artist Haiiileen’s installations next to the Skate Space roller rink also proved to be a popular spot for Instagramers to capture that perfect selfie in the multicolored acidwave lights.
The Boiler Room and Isotropic stages seemed to be some of the most consistent and popular stages throughout the weekend, always boasting a packed house and bumping party. These were the stages attendees were able to party til 5AM, then fall asleep on the beach, wake up, and do it all over again at 5PM the next day. Boiler Room favorites include Marvin & Guy and an 808 driven, ear busting, total bass blowout party with Egyptian Lover.
As for any festival, III Points experienced minor hiccups in production with sound and lighting during multiple sets on different stages, which seemed to quickly be resolved and then forgotten by guests too enamored to let anything stop the fun. Although there’s still room for improvement in areas like bathroom facilities, vendor options and high drink prices, III Points has showed that it will only continue to improve as the years pass. The team has consistently brought artists to Miami for their first ever south Florida performances at both the festival and satellite III Points events throughout the year. We can only assume next year will bring something or someone just as big.
III Points is truly a unique experience unlike any other festival I have attended. The festival organizers and team have succeeded in creating a three day transformative and immersive experience that is unparalleled to other events, solidifying itself as one of America’s greatest niche festivals.