III Points Music, Art and Technology Festival brought in artists from across the country and across the pond leading to a sold-out year. Even though the festival has grown significantly throughout its five years, it still remains devoted to presenting a diverse lineup that includes an abundance of homegrown Miami talent.

One of the first things I noticed on the III Points schedule was that doors didn't open until 5pm and stayed open and serving until 5am. From the get-go, I knew that the festival was going to be a wild time. I mean, this was Miami after all.

Friday began by picking up my wristband from Shots, an appropriately named shots bar across the street from the festival grounds. After a quick line at security, I entered the festival grounds through a mirrored archway and was then greeted by an eight-foot-wide disco ball suspended in the air by a crane. I passed the main stage where Thundercat was playing to start my festivities inside the warehouse.

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Upon entering the warehouse I was struck by the display of multi-coloured neon mannequin torsos encased in clear plastic boxes that filled the entire wall. It made for a bright and beautiful neon wonderland. After taking photos for the ‘gram, like so many others were doing, I passed through the doors and found myself in yet another display of neon sculptural art. This time in organic colour-changing forms hanging from the ceiling and also by the same artist, Aileen Quintana. Finally making my way to Arca’s set, I witnessed them jumping on the decks, meowing, and demanding the crowd, first in Spanish then in English, to lose inhibitions and get down to the music. Arca’s performance was accompanied by Jesse Kanda’s strange and disturbing videos that included images of decomposing pigs and a goat being born. The entire experience, from entrance to exit, was a wild visual overload, but in the best way possible.

Friday night ended, at least for me, with Gorillaz in their first ever Florida appearance. Throughout the evening, the hype for headliners was made clear through the extensive amount of Gorillaz t-shirts wandering throughout the grounds and bless those Floridians who have been waiting over a decade to see them. The animated band made only a few appearances while Damon Albarn took center stage throughout the night and was joined by Kali Uchis, Peven Everett, Kilo Kish and Zebra Katz. Gorillaz ended their set with ‘Plastic Beach’, where Albarn confessed they only just rehearsed the song that morning "because we thought, well we’re in Miami, and I mean, there is no more perfect Plastic Beach than South Beach… so somehow after all these years, it’s come home." The only downer to the night was the lack of Demon Days material including ‘Feel Good Inc.’, the song that launched Gorillaz’s success in the states. Many waited for an encore when the band ended ten minutes before its scheduled time, but none came.

Saturday, I knew I was going to be in for a long night. Before entering the festival, I checked out more of the Wynwood district outside the festival grounds. It was almost like another world, while the streets were still filled with graffiti, families pushed their children in strollers, and tourists took part in Wynwood’s Art Walk snapping photos every two feet. The Art Walk was basically a Wynwood open house block party that offered after-hours openings at art galleries, restaurants, and retail businesses. Overall, it had a much cleaner family-friendly vibes that stood in stark contrast to the neon lights and mirrors and pounding sonic waves that lay just inside the festivals walls.

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Once at III Points I began my night with Willow Smith inside the warehouse. The 16-year-old brought some nervous yet excited energy to the stage. The highlight of the set was witnessing her latest rendition of ‘Whip My Hair’ now a more garage band vibe than the original classic pop. After Willow, I made it outside to watch Saturday’s headliner of the night, Nicolas Jaar. He began his set with a long experimental noise piece that ended up weeding out many in the crowd, but his work eventually transformed into a free-flowing and danceable set.

After Jaar, and back into the warehouse, Mark Ronson and Kevin Parker had taken over the turntables and basically created their own club party, playing crowd-pleasers along with their personal favourites, eventually ending with Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’. Once their set ended many cleared out, while many, including myself, moved in for a closer view of the next performer, Skepta. The warehouse set felt intimate from the crowd with Skepta often calling out and praising the “energy crew in the middle." Skepta played many well-known hits including ‘That’s Not Me’, ‘No Security’ and ‘Shutdown’ and also performed a freestyle rap battle between him and one of his labelmates. Ronson and Parker were also seen from sidestage enjoying the British rapper while dancing and taking videos.

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Even with a 1:35am start, a large crowd was gathered for the next act, Kaytranada, who brought a danceable set with a backdrop of pulsating lights. Then finally at 3:00am, I had made it to John Talabot, a feat many of my friends did not believe I would be able to complete. As much as I would have liked to have stayed to 5:00am to catch his full set of house music, I ended up heading out at about 4:00am. Honestly, I’m still impressed I made it that late.

On Sunday, I arrived unfashionably early at 5:30pm, mainly to check out the festival in daylight hours. Plus, I needed at least one good photo of a palm tree to know we’re in Florida. Started off catching Pumarosa who held a 6:45pm set time, the noontime equivalent at most other festivals. The London band was met with a meagre crowd, many still recovering from the night before, but excelled at delivering grungy pop and getting everyone to move a little while welcoming us into the night.

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The festival continued with Perfume Genius who sashayed and vogued across the stage and teased us for an entire song as he removed his jacket. Bonobo followed with great visuals and a set made up of mostly work from their sixth album, Migration. After Bonobo, there was about an hour and fifteen-minute gap to change out the backdrops and install four rotating mirrored pillars for The xx. The band played primarily off xx and I See You while the mirrors reflected light into the crowd and onto the disco ball hanging from the crane above.

While the headliners brought the festival to national attention and eventually selling out, the festival continued to honour Miami’s locals, especially evident at the DITHER stage. DITHER was set between the two main stages, an entrance hall basically as you enter the warehouse, so the stage got lots of foot traffic even if not too many stayed for more than a few seconds. Every time you passed DITHER you were greeted by a different ensemble ranging from DJs to young adults in capes playing instruments on the floor to garage bands. Saturday night even featured a thrift shop that sold oddities such as puzzles, dolls, and dildo strap-ons. DITHER definitely delivered a unique opportunity for festival-goers to expand their idea of what to expect at a music festival by challenging expectations and offering experimental performances in a setting that felt like a small venue. The only downside to DITHER was that since there were no explicitly written set times, it really threw off knowing who was playing, what was happening, and how to follow up with performers on social media.

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In addition to the music, I also go to experience the immersive artworks throughout the 100,000 square foot warehouse. The entire back half of the warehouse was outfitted with various installations, each playing with light, colours, and shapes. The installations attracted attention from wandering minds and those looking for refuge in the dark spaces. Unfortunately, the intent of Brian Eno’s ‘The Ship’ was lost on many as it turned out to be an air-conditioned lounge pad for trippers and a meeting place to catch up with friends and take a rest from the festival.

Overall, I felt like III Points was a great success especially considering the fact that Hurricane Irma brought so much damage to the city a few weeks prior. The mix of music, art, technology, and a diverse mix of performers made for a very enjoyable and interesting weekend. Excited to see what III Points bring to the table next year!

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