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Saturday, December 09, 2023

Last weekend, III Points music festival kicked off a three-day celebration of music, art and technology in Miami. The festival’s lineup not only featured many nationally and internationally acclaimed acts, but it also presented festival-goers with plenty of homegrown Miami artists.

Despite a Category 4 hurricane threatening to hit the southern tip of Florida just before III Points was scheduled to commence — and several out-of-town artists canceling due to the storm — III Points didn’t give out refunds, and the festival went on.

Luckily for the festival organizers, Miami wasn’t affected by the storm, and all three days were completely devoid of rain. Of course, a lot of people were still disappointed when some of their favorite acts dropped from the lineup — namely the festival’s biggest advertised artist, LCD Soundsystem. Just a day before the event, the group members announced they wouldn’t be able to play.

Still, the show went on, and although many people were angry, III Points did notify potential attendees before any of them bought their tickets that the event would go on, rain or shine, without refunds.

LCD Soundsystem wasn’t the only big name to drop from the lineup. Massachusetts-based electronic musician Oneohtrix Point Never, Los Angeles rapper Earl Sweatshirt and English producer Lapolux all canceled their sets the week of the event. If that wasn’t bad enough, III Points never made announcements about the dropped acts other than LCD Soundsystem.

“The LCD Soundsystem and Oneohtrix drops were heartbreaking, but I understand the circumstances were extenuating,” Claudia Acosta, who attended the festival, said. “I only wish III Points would have continually kept fans up-to-date with the schedule changes.”

In addition, the festival offered no free water to attendees. To stay hydrated, they had to drink out of bathroom sinks or pay bartenders $6 each for a 16-ounce bottle of Evian water. This is a safety hazard at a music festival, dehydration is a very real possibility when attendees spend hours dancing. I remember expressing my distaste with this to a bartender Friday, who simply responded, “Where do you think you are, kid? This is Miami. There is no free water.”

And then it dawned on me: I was in Miami, a major city that intimidates newcomers. As someone who grew up in a sheltered suburb of Broward County, just north of Miami, I tended to ignore Miami-Dade County completely. Still, I found myself appreciating the authenticity of the event and the Miami-based art featured around III Points as the weekend continued.

“Miami is one of those places that is really overwhelming when you first get here,” said June Summer, a Miami resident who serves as the vocalist for Plastic Pinks. “After you tap into it, though, you can have a lot fun.”

Ultimately, I did have a lot of fun at III Points. I was exposed to an endless amount of electronic, hip-hop and experimental music. I danced a lot. I witnessed the most advanced and poignant pieces of modern art I’ve ever seen in person.

I roamed the graffiti-covered streets of Wynwood with my ears ringing and my feet sore Monday at 1 a.m., critical of the festival’s organization but happy with the time I spent there.

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