III Points has continued to grow every year. From starting as a small festival with acts scattered across venues in downtown Miami, it has grown exponentially over year after year. The festival returned to Mana Wynwood for the third year in a row, this time expanding the grounds to include more of the indoor warehouse. The festival definitely embraces the Miami nightlife culture in its experience, for the better and worse.
This year, the festival sold out for the first time with help from the Gorillaz first ever show in Florida. The band played to over 15,000 fans in what was easily the largest crowd of the weekend. Damon Albarn and his cartoon companions played a career-spanning setlist that relied heavily on their newest record Humanz. A special moment came when Albarn played “Plastic Beach” for the first time since 2010 as a tribute to Miami. After sticking to the setlist they’ve been playing on the tour, the song came as a surprise and gave the set a unique touch.
Two of the most lively sets of the weekend happened back to back on Friday night. Starting off was Arca, who’s high-energy personality harshly contrasts the sounds of his excellent self-titled album he released earlier this year. In a city that has diverse Hispanic cultures, Arca blended his Venezuelan heritage with techno to put on one hell of a dance party. Danny Brown followed with one of the most bouncing sets of the weekend. He opened up with three songs from his debut album XXX, then followed it with his biggest hits from his other records. Brown’s upbeat show was a great way to hype people up for the upcoming headliner.
While Gorillaz and The XX have headlined festivals before, III Points gave the Saturday headlining spot to DJ Nico Jaar. Jaar played a two-hour live set incorporating multiple genres. Although under-attended, he put on a show that will surely become legendary in III Points folklore. Bay area rapper Lil B brought his positivity to the stage in a show filled with bangers spanning his many projects. With thousands upon thousands of songs to choose from, every Lil B show is a mystery to what he could pull out. The rowdiest the crowd got the entire weekend was when he busted out the chorus of “Wonton Soup.”
The final day of the festival featured some of the bigger names of the weekend. Bonobo made his return to III Points, this time on the main stage, in front of one of the largest crowds of the weekend. The XX performed their show to promote their newest record, I See You, with an incredible mini-DJ set by producer Jamie xx in between the end of the set and the encore. The best gem of the night however was the blackout DJ set by Nicolas Jaar. He showed off his Chilean roots by playing Latin music fused with dark techno. The set extended way past his allotted time and capped off an incredible weekend at III Points.
- The Art – One thing that makes III Points special is its location allows various art exhibitions to be on display in the warehouse. Having an entire section of the festival dedicated to showcasing visual art with accompanying music.
- Set Times – Florida is hot year round. Even though the festival takes place during the fall, the temperatures at night still reached over 80 degrees with high humidity. Having the sets run until 5 a.m. allowed attendees to escape the sun and party until dawn.
- An Air-Conditioned Stage – Dancing can make you really sweaty. It’s a good feeling knowing the festival spent the extra money to keep the largest indoor stage cool throughout the weekend. This gave attendees an area to both cool down and dance to some of the best electronic acts in the world.
- Water – Selling 11 ounce bottles of Evian for $5 fits right in with the lavish lifestyle culture of Miami. With no opportunities for re-entry and not allowing attendees to bring in fluids forced attendees to pay a premium to stay hydrated.
- Brian Eno’s The Ship – When the festival dropped its lineup, near the top of the bill was the announcement that it would be showcasing Brian Eno’s visual-audio installation that accompanies his album the ship. This exhibition is being displayed in museums, so it was a big draw for many. Unfortunately, the exhibition became a loud hangout spot for that people went in to cool off. Its disappointing that one of their top billed draws wasn’t better organized.
See our complete photographic coverage of III Points 2017 below. All photos © Nick L. for FestivalSnobs.com.