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III Points 2016: Art for the Sake of Art

III Points Festival at Mana Wynwood October 6-9, 2016III Points had to bend a lot this year. The festival was still slated to go on, even after artist cancellations and lapses in scheduling after Hurricane Matthew’s narrow miss of South Florida. Yet while III Points had to give, take, and change quite a bit, it held up as the feel-good festival it’s always been.

For its fourth year, III Points went a little industrial, a bit celestial, and just a touch of neon. From the massive cargo crates that formed the entrance to Fusion’s Mars 2030 virtual reality experience to artist Haiiileen’s “vaporwave mall” installation Sunset @ Noon, it seemed as if the theme was art for the sake of art. With copal, an aromatic tree resin, burning all weekend for a “healing experience,” and a constant trance beat somewhere in the background, the festival was a realm of its own.

All these distinct touches gave the festival a DIY edge, something that keeps it wonderfully grounded in contrast to the larger festivals III Points can contend with.

The same feeling translated into the artist line-up, which was multi-dimensionally diverse, no matter the stage or the size of the audience.

Friday, day one of the festival, fell victim to a scheduling overhaul. Yet SOPHIE, who was originally scheduled at 2 a.m. on the small Sector 3 stage, was moved to the massive Main Frame stage as one of the earliest acts of the day. The PC Music producer dove into “L.O.V.E.” – the buzzing, whining track was an unexpected choice for an opener – subsequently playing collab tracks like Charli XCX’s “Vroom Vroom” and an unreleased team effort with Big Freedia.

Just before SOPHIE’s originally scheduled time, Twelve’Len took the Sector 3 stage. Hailing from Carol City, the local rapper/singer was warmly welcomed by an audience who swayed and sang along. Twelve’Len’s R&B vocals were defining, yet with an occasional acoustic guitar and some folk pop beats, he sauntered from genre to genre. His recently released album Fri(end)s can attest to it.

Closing out the Sector 3 stage for the night was David Marston, a DJ/producer originally from Kingston, Jamaica. His pulsing beats shifted from bass to bongos, providing the perfect environment for some sensual, late night dancing. The crowd was definitely feeling it, especially when he live recorded some electric guitar riffs to throw in.

unnamedDay two of the festival, Saturday, was definitely one to be “hyped up,” but not just because of semi-big name acts like Diiv and Ta-Ku. The local acts made the impact on Saturday.

Early on was Komakozie’s set on the Sunset @ Noon stage. Taking the stage alone and wearing a hand-painted jacket that read “DON’T SHOOT,” the Hollywood, Fla. artist spoke of the beauty of culture, hip hop and how they bring people together before barreling into a strictly beatbox set. Komakozie flawlessly mimicked the hard snares, big kick drums, and vocal flourishes of any fully produced trap or hip hop song. The highlight of his set was a series of songs based on the elements – earth, wind, and fire – that had the crowd yelling in awe at his transitions.

On the same stage was Broward artist Lautlos, who wooed the crowd with spacey synth echoes and downtempo beats. The set was a quick refresher after Komakozie’s hard-hitting set, offering listeners solace from louder, harsher ongoings outside.

The Main Frame stage welcomed yet another local, POORGRRRL, who made Miami New Times headlines back in 2015. Accompanied by about 20 dancers clad in glowing white, the Miami-based rapper and singer put on the best stage show of the day, prompting an onstage mosh pit at one point. Her booming, experimental music was fronted by what she calls “broken word”: a sort of valley girl-esque sing-talk that challenges fakeness. Probably the most interesting and off-putting part of POORGRRRL’s set was when her dancers laid on the floor, yelling and screaming into a vocoder she held to each of them.

Props to anyone who was still up to Sunday, day three of the festival. It was worth it, especially with Trick Daddy’s surprise appearance in lieu of Earl Sweatshirt, who cancelled due to a supposed missed flight.

m83-iii-points-2016-1The rappers reigned on Main Frame: Aside from Trick Daddy was South Florida’s pride and joy, local rapper Denzel Curry. Pulling a massive crowd that bounced and yelled at every cue, Curry put on an aggressive set, demanding more and more from the audience. He even played some new material.

Sunday presented a ton of acts that kept III Pointers coming back, like Canadian synth-pop artist Jessy Lanza, one of our must-sees this year. M83, whose long-awaited comeback was marked with their latest album Junk, graced the Mind Melt stage, while the jittery noise of Flying Lotus held it down at Main Frame.

III Points was far from disappointing. High expectations from long-time and first-time fans may have dampened some spirits, but the festival crew, who were often seen in the audience or snapping pictures, looked far from disheartened. III Points was for the unscheduled free spirits – the true music lovers.

By Carina Vo

Photos courtesy of Jason Koerner

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