Feature artwork by Marlon Pruz
III Points Festival founder David Sinopoli and I met about five years ago at a Miami restaurant that no longer exists. Much like anything in Miami — easy come, easy go. “I have this idea,” David said, kicking off a meeting that would last several hours and fully describe his conceptual landscape of music, tech, and art.
While he discussed this entity, David insisted I see everything within Miami’s Wynwood community. So, he took me everywhere across the neighborhood, from empty parking lots to hidden bars, lively art installations, and potential art galleries. Quite frankly, it was one of the most beautiful areas of Miami I’d ever seen — and I’m from there.
What I didn’t know at the time, however, was that David was showing me the canvas he would later paint and call III Points Music Festival. Five years later, he’s not only the hot curator at Miami’s Bardot, but about to celebrate the festival’s third year, which brings the likes of Run the Jewels, Panda Bear, and King Krule to the 305.
Again, nothing lasts very long within South Florida. (Bye, LeBron!) Which is why III Points Festival is such an intriguing and alluring event to behold. Naturally, we’ll always have the DayGlo daze that is Ultra Music Festival, but to see such a curious lineup thrive amidst such polarizing audiences … well, it warranted a quick chat with David to explain such success.
David, you recently said that III Points Festival has an “everyone wants it to work” mentality within the community of Miami. What allowed this to occur between you and Erica Freshman, beyond your work at Bardot?
I believe that openness from the Miami community to work with us has come for a few reasons — mainly because I believe it was obvious to a lot of the people working here that we needed something like this in Miami. There was just a huge void for a festival that had a focus on the city’s talent.
I also believe that our activation program opened the doors for a lot of the community to work with the festival. This program is a unique element that we do, where we help program and curate over 40 to 50 free events throughout the neighborhood that happen during, before and after the festival grounds are open.
Community venues are part of the program and work in conjunction with many of the key organizations that are doing dope shit here in Miami. These activations can be BBQs, demonstrations, panels, after parties, installations, book fairs, zine fairs, tech talks, freeze dance parties, video gaming lounges, whatever and however weird they wanna make it.
As long as they have a bridge to art, music, and tech and represent properly the scene we have here in Miami.
III Points Festival isn’t just a music festival, though. What other components does it have for its audiences?
It’s a living art installation; each stage, each space, every detail is curated to align with the music we are presenting. The first two years had their own overarching intention, and this year is the same way. We set the intention at the start of the year with our internal creative team. Then we program the music. Once the acts are set, we work in conjunction with Miami artists to build the space out to correlate with the sound. We want it to be a total experience from top to bottom for our festivalgoers.
Earlier this summer, the Miami Herald published an article entitled “Miami No. 2 in startup activity.” With III Points returning to the creative abyss that is Mana, a production compound in Wynwood, would you say III Points is part of that energy?
Yeah, its fucking exciting. This city is exploding in so many incredible ways. We are trying to represent that startup energy that is going on here properly via our activation program throughout the community. We also try to use a lot of tech to enhance and produce the art and music in the grounds. Each year, we have been trying to build on that aspect of the festival. It does not come as natural to us as the music or the art, so we really rely on our partnerships with key organizations to guide our work.
Many think Ultra Music Festival is a blast, others call it a nightmare. It’s very polarizing. How do you feel Miami looks at III Points? How is it good for the whole city?
Well, Ultra is a blast to many people here and is overall a very positive thing for Miami. It has always helped our music scene. But I believe that because of its success, it also has defined us in a category that is exclusively electronic and, as of late, very EDM. Especially because we already are viewed by many people as the “Vegas by the Sea” on South Beach. Ultra can very much enhance that view of Miami from people that don’t know what the fuck else is going down here.
Our aim is just to carve out one weekend to showcase what Miami is on every other weekend other than WMC and Basel. And to just try to truly represent this beautifully diverse city as best as we can. Our city is super young and in the middle of this counter culture boom of creativity going on. I just want to make sure there is a proper space and time to showcase that boom, and hopefully catalyze that movement further.
There are five stages for you to play around with this time. Now, in the past, III Points has had a focus between its various stages — for example, surveillance was a theme last year. What’s in the cards for 2015?
The focus and intention changes every year. In 2013, when we started, it was this chaos around singularity that Miami art company TVVINHAUS, lead by Miami artist Tara Long, curated. It was some of our most exciting work, so raw and real. Last year, in 2014, it was mainly about surveillance through technology.
One of our favorite aspects to this project is the moment we reveal the installation, when the grounds open. So, with that being said, this year’s installation is currently a secret, and I can’t tell you shit right now. [Laughs]
And yeah, we have five stages this year, but not all of them are your traditional festival stages. We like to always disorient and fuck with the spacing of our venue. This year, we are taking it a little further because of all the space we have to play with at Mana.
Jose D. Duran of Miami New Times grabbed one of my favorite quotes from you, one that resonates deeply with me — a native 0f Miami — in how I always felt about the music scene. You told him: “We saw a lot of need for the music scene to have more infrastructure that kept them here in Miami.”
Yeah, totally. I think that is exactly what is resonating with the local scene here in Miami and is a big part of the success we are having here in Miami. That is the aspect that the natives and locals appreciate the most from III Points and what is at the core of the genuine support for the fest.
I think they see the contribution it can have to our city’s artistic growth. And through the past two years, we are seeing how special that is to us as an initiative for III Points.
It’s the real core of what we are doing: to improve and help build this city’s music community, to keep our artists here, to let them know there is a space for them here to “make it.” They don’t need to ride out to LA or NYC or Berlin; Miami can be home and can support them while they build their careers.
What do you think keeps art in Miami?
Just that. Build the resources to keep art and music here in Miami. Make the artists not just feel welcome here, but showcase them alongside other incredible international talent so that the thousands of people coming to events like III Points can see how special their craft is.
You can witness that craft on October 9th-11th. Tickets are currently available here. Be fast — they’re going quick.