Electronic music, NASA and virtual reality: Miami’s III Points festival expected to shatter norms this weekend

click to enlarge Electronic music, NASA and virtual reality: Miami’s III Points festival expected to shatter norms this weekend
left: image courtesy of III Points (iiipoints.com), right: image courtesy of Fusion (fusion.net)
Since 2013, tribes of musical prodigies and visual experts have congregated once a year in the Wynwood art district of Miami to deliver a weekend of deep, unique and beautifully intimate sounds that attract thousands of listeners from around the world. This weekend, we celebrate that artistic diversity again in the fourth year of the III Points Music and Arts festival.

This year’s three-day festival brings together a colorful lineup, ranging from the well-known labeled artists from Europe and Australia to the locally brewed musicians of Miami’s culturally dependent dance scene. Big identities like Flying Lotus, Earl Sweatshirt, M83, and LCD Soundsystem will take the main stage from Friday through Sunday, Oct. 7-9.

Flying Lotus also made an appearance on the 2014 III Points lineup and spontaneously gifted the audience with his rap alias, Captain Murphy, for the last 20 minutes of his set. While we're unsure of his specific plans for this year, Flying Lotus sets never fail to surprise audiences in even the most inappropriate senses. Last month, the producer received strong criticism for making racy comments on stage about Hillary Clinton, spurring a weeklong social media commentary assessing the seemingly unavoidable tendencies of political expression by artists and celebrities.

III Points, however, will likely pardon its attendees of political stress and provide the musical refuge we so badly need in this country. To help this aim, the other 80 or so artists to take the stages include Helado Negro, Vince Staples, Flight Facilities and Full Sail alumni Travis Stewart, aka Machinedrum.

Unofficially named after Elektron’s "Machinedrum" step sequencer, Stewart embodies a fresh style of electronic percussion, tying together Chicago’s juke genre with hints of hip-hop, dance- and experimental ambience. Machinedrum’s hourlong III Points set will be the first domestic performance after the release of his newest album, Human Energy, which hit the internet last Friday.

Although innately electronic and dance-inducing, it’s hard for some critics to group many artists playing at III Points within the broad empire of EDM. A more subjective and somewhat controversial alternative that has been used is IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), which to some implies that other dance music is not “intelligent” or, for that matter, suggests that intelligence is a factor in enjoying music.

Nonetheless, the festival will foster uniquely thrilling combinations of sounds and sights in an almost omnipresent way. The concentration of visual art at III Points builds a relationship between an already euphoric auditory experience with an even more awe-inspiring collection of design, light and paint.

Interactive art and unearthly experiences lie in the festival’s “activations,” which will be situated all over the festival during and before each day. Some of these activations include a “vaporwave mall,” an art auction, a virtual reality lounge and a “music visualizer” set.

Perhaps the most intriguing activation at III Points is a joint project by NASA and Fusion Network called Mars 2030. “We have been eager to find a way to work with the III Points team since our launch nearly three years ago, and what better way to collaborate than transporting audiences to another planet,” Daniel Eilemberg, co-president at Fusion, said in a press release. The virtual expedition to Mars will serenade space cadets with massive sounds from the London Symphony Orchestra.

The Miami festival released a statement on the threat of Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to brush the east coast of Florida later this week:

“We are currently tracking every turn of Hurricane Matthew and are keeping the safety of our crew and patrons as the top priority. IF and only IF Hurricane Matthew touches Florida this weekend, rest assured, III Points is going to throw the most badass hurricane party in history.

Additionally, we are blessed that our festival grounds at Mana Wynwood houses over 150k square feet of indoor safe space, as well as generators to ride out any power outages. We have backup plans to our backup plans and we are all systems go if we need to move things indoors… The safety of our guests is paramount to us and we guarantee that our festival will be comfortable, safe and most importantly, an incredible fucking party.”

This year's III Points is offering one of the most diversely unique arrays of art this state has probably ever seen. Tickets are almost sold out, so head on over to the website to grab yourself a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity while you can.

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