Looking back at last weekend, the second-ever III Points was a real big winner.
It was bigger and more ambitious than its predecessor. Attendance was up -- way up. The move to Soho Studios was the right one. And between Shake Shack, La Latina, and Panther Coffee providing festival-goers with food and drink, there was no reason to ever leave the grounds. (And unlike almost any other festival, III Points 2014 had a very liberal in-and-out policy -- which is a good thing, if you ask me.)
Still some people and things were "winning" bigger than others. And, well, there were some losers in this batch too. So let's look back at III Points and break it down for you.
See also: III Points 2014: Miami New Times' Complete Coverage
Let us start with the winners ...
Confession: These last few years, I've really fallen out of love with the DJ. Why? The popularization of EDM has turned dance music in a homogeneous genre with little tolerance for experimentation. Even DJs who used to come out of left field have chosen EDM and the almighty dollar. But at III Points, I discovered my love for the DJ once again. Tiga, Jamie Jones, Duke Dumont, Cashmere Cat, and others took plenty of risks in delivering sets that would have never worked at a traditional dance club or major music festival. That's the great thing about III Points -- the festival is so new that no one knows what to expect. This frees DJs from having to play the "hits" and allows them to unleash new tracks, even works in progress, on the crowd.
2. Shake Shack
When I go on death row, my final meal will be a Shake Shack burger, cheese fries, and a concrete. I'm the kind of person that hates chain restaurants, going out of my way to avoid them, but I wouldn't protest the opening of a Shack somewhere in the Midtown/Wynwood/Edgewater area. And it seemed like everyone at III Points agreed, because I never saw that line less than ten people long.
3. Local Bands
When major events come take over this town (see: Winter Music Conference and Art Basel Miami Beach), local bands don't get a lot of love. So a festival that books mostly locals to play alongside internationally recognized artists -- that's a blessing. Even better is that lots of people actually showed up for the sets by Miami acts like Jacuzzi Boys, Hunters of the Alps, Dude Skywalker, and more. Sure, festival-goers didn't buy a ticket to specifically see them, but you can't knock the exposure. And the large number of local bands probably also insured the ticket price didn't balloon. So a win for everybody!
4. Art Meets Music
Art at a music festival usually only earns an eye roll from me. But, dammit, III Points proved me wrong. Sure, there were gallery projects and whatnot, but most of the art also served a utilitarian purpose. The post-apocalyptic shanty town created by the Design Build Collective served as the commerce area for the festival, while large white panels in the main stage area showed pretty projections but also kept sound from bleeding through the enormous warehouse.
5. The Over-21 Set
From my understanding, III Points was an all-ages affair. While there were some kids, the majority of the crowd was of legal drinking age, which meant the event wasn't a shit show. There were some people who might have imbibed too much, but they were few and far between. For the most part, everyone acted like an adult -- or at least like an adult raging on the weekend.
See also: III Points 2014's Five Best Miami Acts
And now for the losers ...
1. Wynwood's History
If you haven't seen the short documentary Right to Wynwood by local filmmakers Camila Álvarez and Natalie Edgar, I suggest you stop what you're doing and watch it right now. It is a heartbreaking doc that shows how the rapid gentrification and talk of "revitalizing urban blight" has pushed aside Wynwood's Puerto Rican community. And guess what? Little Havana, Little Haiti, Lemon City, and Overtown are next. Also, fuck you, David Lombardi!
Photo by Alex Markow
Hey, y'all! I'm having a barbecue! Wait, you expected actual grilled meats and the sort? See, apparently, BBQ in Miami actually means a daytime party lacking in food. We went to three of these things on Sunday (Gramps, Wood, Brisky) and didn't see any actual barbecue. It wasn't until 8:30ish that someone arrived at Gramps to serve jerk pork and chicken. By that time, the crowd was so damn hungry I think they would have eaten cardboard.
Definitely not ravers.
Photo by Alex Markow
I never want to go back to a festival dominated by bad raver fashion and glow sticks. It was as if Diplo himself declared "NO GLOW STICKS AT III POINTS" and everyone complied. And while you could argue III Points is not an electronic music festival, per se, there were still a lot of electronic acts. But we didn't see one single glow stick being hoisted up in the air -- and it was great! (Might we suggest to III Points in actually instituting a glow-stick ban in future editions to preserve the atmosphere.) Neon attire was also non-existent, as hipster versions of goth and seapunk (apparently, still a thing) dominated.
See also: The Five People You Meet in Wynwood
4. The 3 a.m. Closing Time
If I had one quibble with the festival, it would be the odd times. Who has ever been at a festival until 3 a.m.? No one. Illegal warehouse rave? Yes. Festival? No. This also meant that by the time you exited and checked out the afterparties around the neighborhood, lots of stuff was already wrapping up. Wood and Gramps close at 3 a.m., while everyplace else basically shuts down at 5. And there were some great afterparties! Roman Flügel at Electric Pickle will go down as one of the best sets I've heard this year. Next year, may I recommend an earlier start time and an ending of midnight or 1 a.m.? (Also, I'm old and tired, and I want to get to bed at a decent hour.)
5. The Newbies
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I'm not talking about the newbies at this year's festival. I'm talking about all them noobs who are gonna be going to the 2015 edition because their friends told them, "Oh, 2014 was so amaaazing." I have no doubt III Points will attract a broader audience next year, and can't help lamenting that some of the stuff that made this year's fest special might disappear. It felt like an organized free-for-all, with no judgement and great music. (Remember early Ultra?) In our interview, Duke Dumont called the festival "left-field" and something rare in North America. That's because, while festivals like Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, Bonnaroo, and, yes, Ultra, tout themselves as the "alternative," they are ginormous corporate entities looking to make a big profit. III Points is the true face of the alternative -- homegrown and awesome.
Crossfade's III Points 2014 Photo Slideshows