The 2019 version of the annual III Points Festival in Miami was a fascinating look into the multifaceted contemporary music scene that included a look into visual art and of course, fashion. Music festivals have become a cultural norm. Think Coachella, Glastonbury, Bonaroo or Lollapalooza, the original festival remake that took its inspiration from the pop and rock festivals of the late sixties (Woodstock and Monterey, for example), which took its inspiration from Folk festivals in the earlier part of the decade (think Newport and Bob Dylan). It suffices to say that music festivals have a long and illustrious history in both the musical and mainstream cultural universe of the United States and even Europe.
What makes III Points in Miami such a unique phenomenon is its commitment to presenting serious musicians and bands for serious music lovers. When your lineup couples Godspeed You! Black Emperor with Blood Orange, you have the very definition of eclecticism. III Points takes place in the Wynwood District of Miami, a unique blend of so-called art galleries (usually the work of graffiti artists and trust fund kids), contemporary restaurants and the requisite glitzy Miami night clubs. Choosing Wynwood as a locale for a music festival would not necessarily conjure images of an electric experience. Thankfully, III Points transcended the limitations of the quasi-industrial neighborhood with a unique combination of stagecraft and rooms designed to provide complete experiences for just about all your senses.
Let’s start with the unique approach to stage names: Mind Melt, Main Frame, Isotropic, Sector 3, and The Boiler Room, to name a few. Throw in cool concepts like the psychedelic skate room or the immersive installations like Aether and the ICA partnership with Judy Chicago. Ultimately however, people do not go to music festivals to see art or go roller skating. They go to see and hear great music. III Points 2019 did not disappoint. There are simply too many sonic highlights to list in one review, but notable moments include the powerfully, soulfully sweet set by Blood Orange and the uniquely atmospherics of Tim Hecker.
A$AP Rocky drew enthusiastic raves from the festival-goers as did the likes of Raekwon and Loka. Now about those festival-goers at III points… Wow! Let’s begin with the fashions. The girls pretty much dressed in a combination of either sexy Goth teenager or Dracula’s stripper girlfriend… The range of styles and attitudes in between was kind of limitless. As for the boys… let’s just say that they did not put in the same efforts. At some point, American young men need a boot camp for fashion. First rule in said bootcamp: no baseball caps! Second rule: No tennis shoes, sneakers, or vans…. I could go on and on. The fashion horrors and crimes against humanity ran rampant at III Points, like they do at other music festivals but in a strange way, they were indicative of the unique lineup and spirit of this event that is designed to appeal to ardent sonic devotees, be they hip-hop lovers or Eryka Badu or 30-something snobby aesthete disciples of Godspeed.
This is an event to be experienced, to savor and to engage in for those who actually love complete albums and know the difference between a 12-inch and a 7-inch…