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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
December 6 , 2023

III Points music festival brings SZA, James Blake, eccentricity to Wynwood

The sixth-annual III Points music festival attracted thousands of people this past weekend. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

This past weekend, Feb. 15-17, III Points came to town. What does that mean? Well, if you’re asking that question, you probably skipped my beginner’s guide to III Points music festival (which I do take personally, by the way). But that’s okay. I’ll tell you anyway.

III Points is an alternative music festival that has taken place in Wynwood for the past six years, and this year, it returned with its most star-studded lineup yet. I had planned to go all three days, but due to my work for The Hurricane, my school assignments and the headache I had for three days straight, I only made it to one night— Saturday.

Music at III Points runs from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. everyday, so I arrived at around 7 p.m. From the moment I stepped out of my Uber, which I fell asleep in, I knew that this would be an experience unlike any other.

The entrance resembled a portal; it was an elevated black surface that lit up, leading you to a wall that dawned a lit-up III Points logo, creating an air of mystery that seemed to hide another world behind it. This other world was filled with people in eclectic outfits— all seemingly without a care in the world— three stages, pop-up shops, a free skating rink, bars selling water and alcohol at sky-high prices, a club called “Boiler Room” (Degrassi, anyone?), women doing psychic readings and a “green space” where self-proclaimed stoners could purchase weed paraphernalia and people handed out pamphlets on how to get approved for medical marijuana.

Around 8 p.m., I headed to my first show. One of the two smaller stages, the Main Frame Stage was set up inside a dimly-lit room of the Mana Wynwood Convention Center. At first, the crowd was small; people were spread out, passing around blunts and oil pens that only added to the already foggy atmosphere. But around 8:30 p.m., the stage went dark, and suddenly the gaps in the audience filled with people of all races, ages and ethnicities. First, there were blue lights and then bright white ones. Screaming filled the air, and self-proclaimed “TrapHouseJazz” artist Masego took the stage.

Having never actually listened to his music, I was not quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. I definitely left the venue as a new fan.

Masego alternated between singing, rapping, playing the saxophone and bantering with the audience. He performed songs from this 2018 album “Lady Lady,” accompanied by two backup singers, heavy bass, a keyboardist, a drummer and a screen of visuals that ranged from flowers to female silhouettes.

His show was sexual in nature, with most of his songs sounding like what I now can only describe as “baby-making music.”

James Blake performers at III Points music festival on Saturday, Feb, 16. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

His show wrapped up after about an hour, and I was on to the next one. Scheduled to take the Mind Melt Stage at 9:45 p.m., singer-songwriter James Blake started right on time. As one of the weekend’s headliners, hundreds of people crowded the stage and sang along under an almost full moon. A giant disco ball also hung over the crowd, appearing to descend straight from the sky.

Blake’s show was exactly how I imagined it would be— simple. He wore a black t-shirt and performed against a matching black background. He sat in one spot the entire time, playing the keyboard while adding in the distinct vocals that made him famous. About half-way through the set, I decided to sit down for two reasons. The first was that Blake’s show was intimate; it was calming and vibe-worthy, and I could not focus while being constantly bumped into by a man- clearly intoxicated- doing something that resembled interpretive dance (no judgement, though. We’ve all been there). The second was that, even though I am only 20, my knees were killing me.

After roughly an hour, Blake finished up.

“Thank you so much. You’ve been f*cking awesome,” he said before leaving the stage.

SZA performs at III Points music festival on Saturday, Feb. 16. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

The last performer I saw was singer-songwriter SZA. Though she was scheduled to come on at 11:45 p.m., she was did not start until around midnight. The crowd didn’t seem to mind.

Known for her eccentric style just as much as her distinct voice, she took the stage in blue cargo pants, a sheer shirt and matching red jacket with ruffled sleeves. The first song song was “Normal Girl” off of her 2017 album “CTRL,” which famously features her grandmother’s voice on multiple tracks. The audience members belted out the lyrics as if their lives depended on it, and since this was the only artist of the night that’s a staple of my Spotify playlists, I was no different.

Mid-performance, someone yelled out, “I love you,” to which SZA replied “I love you. I really f*cking love you. You guys get me the f*ck out of bed.”

SZA delivered a captivating performance consisting of impressive vocals and a lot of jumping and dancing that kept the crowd energized. She sang other songs from “CTRL,” including “Go Gina” and her most popular song, “The Weekend.” She even hinted at a new album.

One of her last songs was a rendition of Sixpence None the Richer’s 1997 song “Kiss me.”

“That song just makes me happy as f*ck. I just wish it was ’98 right now,” SZA said after wrapping up.

With one song left in her set and in hopes of beating the Uber rush, I made my way to the back of the crowd and into the normal world. Though I would have loved to stay until 5 a.m., I just couldn’t hang.

Nonetheless, III Points will definitely be seeing me again next year.

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