As III Points Approaches the Third Year, Its Founders Welcome the Pressure

In a large office space at MADE at the Citadel, the shared workspace in the former Bellsouth building on NE Second Avenue, III Points has a small squad of people working hard to make sure this year's festival eclipses 2014's edition. The III Points team is made up of 20- and 30-somethings and led by cofounders David Sinopoli and Erica Freshman and director of production and partner Ross LaBrie. If the three of them are feeling any pressure about their October 9 deadline, they aren't showing it.

It's either a sign of a poised and prepared staff or a stone-cold poker face. 

While five- or ten-year anniversaries usually mark an event's milestone, III Points' third edition is set to be a pivotal point for the homegrown music festival. What started out as a hastily planned event in 2013 is now a music festival symbolic of Miami's desire to break out of its clichés — excess, plasticity, disposability  — and become an honest-to-God cultural hub. 

"The idea of a music festival was something that always interested us from working at Bardot," Sinopoli says. "We saw a lot of need for the music scene to have more infrastructure that kept them here in Miami."

Sinopoli admits that the catalyst might have been the narrow focus of Miami's sole major music festival, Ultra, and the fact that it doesn't necessarily speak to the diverse music scene in the city. However, many who have attempted to bring a second major music festival to Miami — Bang, UR1, Langerado — have failed spectacularly. So how has III Points managed to avoid the pitfalls of its predecessors?

"Everyone wants it to work," says Sinopoli. "There are no real obstacles. After the first year, a lot of people came to the table and said, 'Awesome idea. How can we help?' There is an understanding if this does work, it's good for the whole city."

"I think people have more access," adds Freshman. "Basel did come here, and it exposed the international community to Miami as a viable option for art. People started to get excited about Miami as a place that art is happening."

That excitement can be felt in III Points' 2015 edition, with a lineup that includes Nicolas Jaar, Run the Jewels, AlunaGeorge, and Ghostface Killah and Doom, who will be debuting new music at the festival — a first for III Points. However, the music is just one slice of the III Points pie, which will also include art (some of it in partnership with ICA Miami) and technology.

"I think we're committed to keep pushing ourselves on the tech and art side of things," Freshman says. "We've created strategic partnerships with people who are better at it than we are right now."

"With us being so young, a lot of our focus had to be on the music component of it to just get off the ground," says LaBrie. "It has to be the fundamental building block of the festival. I think if we just focused on the art — with an Art Basel already being here — or the technology, it probably wouldn't have grown the way it has."

The trio insists you'll see way more of the nonmusical side of things this year since the music platform has pretty much been laid out and companies and partners are now more interested in collaborating. If there has been an imbalance in the past, it's because they've been trying to figure out how to merge all these ideas together.

For 2015, the festival is thinking bigger, including a return to Mana, the massive production compound in Wynwood. Freshman says there will be more art, installations, and technology on the premises than ever before. There will also be five stages this year along with an expected larger attendance.

"Mana is a very magical space for us because the chaos of year one started there," says Sinopoli. "We have way more capabilities at Mana to produce a state-of-the-art experience."

"From a production standpoint the possibility is far greater this year," says LaBrie. "We have an idea of what the perfect festival is from size and experience, and I think we are in the process of growing to that. The step we are taking this year is a big one."

If you're still hesitant about this bigger and better III Points, you might want to brush that aside. Starting today, the festival is holding a two-day flash sale until Saturday, August 8, at 2 p.m. The sale is for groups of three or more with tickets priced at $88. Going solo? A limited number of $99 tickets remain via iiipoints.com.

III Points 2015. October 9 to 11 at Mana Wynwood, 318 NW 23rd St., Miami. Tickets cost $99 plus fees via squadup.com. Visit iiipoints.com.

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