Before Wynwood was declared Zika-free in late September, the viral outbreak seemed poised to spoil the growing momentum of the III Points Festival, returning Oct. 7-9 with bold-faced bands, art and international DJs.
Then, a naked Donald Trump appeared.
Last month in Wynwood, a life-size statue of the candidate, fleshy and orange in his birthday suit, was perched atop a III Points billboard. Festival co-founders David Sinopoli and Erica Freshman couldn't have been happier. The statue shot to Internet-viral status, as did other rogue statues planted across Los Angeles, Seattle and Cleveland by the West Coast anarchist art collective Indecline. (The statue was subsequently stolen on Sept. 22.) But for Sinopoli and Freshman, veterans of Miami's nightlife scene, an au naturel Trump proved a highlight in a summer marred by Zika madness.
"We definitely felt like Zika was a kick in the balls from the universe on our sales cycle," says Sinopoli, 32, who says ticket sales, sluggish in the summer, are now surging again. "It was the first time we felt the power of the click-bait machine. Now, we just need to do a piece with hologram Tupac back-to-back with naked Donald Trump."
Stronger forces than a Trump statue are bolstering the festival's prestige this year. Linking Miami's art, music and technology communities, the fourth annual III Points brings a muscular, 100-act music bill headlined by dance-punk experimentalists LCD Soundsystem, dreamy-electronica DJ M83 and genre-bending duo Thievery Corporation. New to the III Points fray is Vanguard Film Week, a collection of indie music films that will screen Oct. 3-6 at O Cinema Wynwood to kick off the festival.
Luring LCD Soundsystem back to III Points was a full-circle moment for Sinopoli, 32, and Freshman, 38, avid fans who first booked frontman James Murphy at Bardot nightclub in 2010 and for the inaugural 2013 festival. When Murphy hinted at reuniting the band in January, Sinopoli says he wrote an "honest fan letter" to the singer. The appeal worked: After headlining Coachella and Lollapolooza, LCD Soundsystem agreed to play III Points.
"We told [Murphy] that it was his band that inspired III Points to showcase the talent here in Miami," Sinopoli recalls. "So for James to say, 'Screw it, I'm going to play this small festival in Miami,' it was staggering. He saw through all the dollar signs and the bull----, straight through to our emotion and hard work. I still have chills down my spine thinking that he's going to play here."
After some minor retooling to the layout, Freshman says the festival, on track to reach 30,000 concertgoers this year, should feel more "intimate" than ever.
"We never want III Points to feel cookie-cutter," Freshman says. "We always wanted the bands to play outdoors, so the property is laid out differently than it was last year. We boosted our acts to be world-class, and we're more prepared than ever."
The films: This must be the place
"Contemporary Color" (Oct. 5), a concert film featuring Talking Heads icon David Byrne, tops the Florida premieres of music-themed movies debuting at O Cinema during Vanguard Film Week from Monday, Oct. 3, through Thursday, Oct. 6. The showcase, curated by O Cinema founder Kareem Tabsch, are exports from Sundance, South by Southwest and Tribeca film festivals.
"We Are X" (Oct. 3) profiles heavy-metal survivors X Japan, which have sold 30 million singles and albums worldwide, gaining a swarm of blue-chip admirers — Marilyn Manson, David Lynch, Stan Lee — despite never finding success in the United States. The gore fest "The Greasy Stranger" (Oct. 4), produced by actor Elijah Wood, follows father-son "disco tour guides" whose small town is terrorized by a killer committing grisly murders. "Nu Wave" (Oct. 6) is a collection of arty music videos by rising musicians near and far. Tickets cost $12 per film via O-Cinema.org/Vanguard.
The music: Dance yourself clean
Along with a shot at catching Murphy's reunited outfit (Oct. 7), concertgoers can find music scattered across six stages at Mana Wynwood and its vast parking lot, with sets by DJ Flying Lotus, Method Man and Redman, Flight Facilities, Earl Sweatshirt, Black Coffee, Dixon, Maya Jane Coles and Junior Boys. Half the lineup is composed of South Florida acts, including Millionyoung, Laura of Miami, Bluejay, Cog Nomen, John Hancock III, POORGRRRL, Otto Von Schirach, Rat Bastard, Helado Negro, DJ Le Spam, Holly Hunt, Killmama and Sunghosts.
The food: Deft dining
Sinopoli and Freshman partnered with Miami design collective Deft Union to build a space-themed, food-court-style area on the festival grounds. Vendors include Shake Shack, COYO Taco, Harry's Pizza, Gigi, My Ceviche, Cake Thai, JoJo Tea, La Latina and Panther Coffee.
The art: Shopping malls in space
A trio of ambitious art exhibits will distinguish this year's III Points, led by Aileen Quintana's "Sunset@Noon," a 6,000-square-foot installation of a shopping mall. The Miami artist's nostalgia project, in the works since February, will contain kitschy throwback installations, including a "VHS store," a zine lounge, a water fountain and a beauty salon.
Julian Reyes, a virtual-reality producer for the Fusion network, will debut "Mars 2030," a virtual-reality game that imagines an astronaut's first Mars expedition. The project, created in partnership with NASA, is played using an Oculus Rift VR headset, and allows users to drive in Martian rovers and explore volcanos.
Finally, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami-curated group show "Surface Imagery" assembles experimental art videos by Miami artists Domingo Castillo, Agustina Woodgate, Kenny Riches, Nicolas Lobo and others.
The parking: Get to the Points
Good luck finding anything close. Metered street parking costs $1.50 an hour, but we recommend Uber and Lyft (use code IIIPoints for a $5 discount for first-timers). Early arrivals, meanwhile, can use the festival's new official parking lot at 1700 NE Second Ave., located 1.1 miles from Mana Wynwood. The lot will fill up quickly, so grab an advance parking pass via Squareup.com/Store/IIIPointsParking ($15 per day).
The III Points Music Festival runs Oct. 7-9 at Mana Wynwood Production Village, 318 NW 23rd St., in Miami. Admission is $70-$125 and $135-$299 for VIP. For the full schedule, go to IIIPoints.com.
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