It is almost unfair to criticize the producers of the III Festival. Obviously, this was the first year, a beta-test of sorts, and glitches and fails were bound to happen. They should rightfully be applauded for concept: a festival celebrating music, art, film and technology -- sort of a SXSW in Miami. And they should be applauded for spreading the love across the neighborhood, bringing together gallerists and subcultures of Wynwood that normally don't collaborate, and giving local artists commissioned work. All good stuff. But, at the end of the day, let's tell it like is: the first fest was a fail, and here's III points why.
1. They charged too much money for their first year. An all-inclusive ticket was $155, plus fees. That's a lot for what they offered. More importantly, once you charge that much money, you've now raised expectations to a level where what you produce better be organized and worth the price of admission. It just wasn't. It was dope, but not that dope. Even more importantly, people who are from Miami do not like to pay for things. We like our art and music free, with a side of free drinks, please.
Locals don't like to pay for Ultra, which has its act together. Locals would rather literally swim across the Bay and hop a fence than pay to get into Ultra. And people are going to dish out $160 plus $12 drinks for a first-year-festival with no major headlining acts?
2. Logistics. There were just stupid fails. For example, there were no maps. I arrive at Bonnaroo or Ultra and the first thing I get is a map so I know who is playing where and when. How could you have a festival and not have a map or a schedule? Especially when the festival is spread out across 20 different locations. Duh. We were walking around asking people do you where this is?
We arrived at a party called "Disco Nap" two hours before it was supposed to end and the door was locked. We wanted to see Krisp play at Brisky Gallery but since there was no schedule we missed them. We wanted to see James Murphy but since we didn't know what time he came on, we were eventually too tired and bailed. You could maybe excuse these things, but then you can't, not when they were asking the public to pay what most paid.
3. Don't believe the hype. There were some events that were just terrible. We went to Gab Gallery for the Bro Gaming Lounge. I'm expecting like a retro arcade with tons of video games. There were like three Xboxes and a Sega Genesis. Really? Then, there's the Mana thing. Mana Miami Production Village is an awesome space, and they did a great job with the sound and lighting, but it's just too big for what they were offering. You put 300 people in ten football fields with huge elevated roofs and the optics look and feel awkward.
III Points. Three I's in its name. Ay-yi-yi is more like it.
It probably should've been free, while they work out issues. Maybe they should've held all the events at Mana so people weren't wandering around lost. They could've used more of the huge space. It probably could've been promoted better. There was no buzz. It was more like, is that this weekend?
Still, at the end of the day, although the first III Points Festival was a fail, it wasn't an epic fail, and there's room to grow. South by Southwest started in 1987 and it took them years before they really blew-up. The first SXSW attracted 700 visitors and that's probably close to what III Points drew, so let's see where this thing goes, which is always the case when it comes to defining the future of Wynwood.