III Points music festival founder Erica Freshman sits down with Schwartz Media Strategies’ Soundbytes to talk about Miami’s music scene, Wynwood, and the business lessons she’s learned along the way.
Soundbytes: What inspired you to create III Points?
Erica Freshman: In 2013 when Lebron James said he was taking his talents to South Beach, the perception was that South Beach was Miami. As someone who lives here, I knew Miami has a lot more to offer than confetti, EDM music and sparklers on top of champagne. We created III Points as an alternative to all of that. One of Miami’s best kept secrets has always been our music scene – both in terms of the homegrown talent that’s here, and the fan base. Our event shines a light on that, with tech and art complementing the music. 60 percent of our lineup will always be local talent.
SB: Why did you choose Wynwood as the birthplace and home of III Points?
EF: Wynwood was on the cusp of where it is today when we first started III Points. It was still a few galleries mixed in with a lot of warehouses at the time. We scouted lots of sites, and the local businesses in Wynwood seemed real enthusiastic about the traffic that III Points could bring them. Ours was the first event ever held at Mana Wynwood and the space was as raw as you could imagine. We had to build stairs that first year so our patrons could enter the warehouse space.
SB: How has the festival grown?
EF: Attendance has nearly doubled every year. In year one we had one main stage and satellite events around Wynwood with around 50 artists. This year we’ll host five and a half stages and almost 160 artists.
SB: When did you decide this was the career path for you?
When I was in high school New York Magazine released a “Power Girls” issue featured four women on the cover. They were all young twenty-somethings making a difference. I realized two things at the time: 1. I didn’t want to be a Kindergarten teacher and 2. I wanted to be my own boss.
EF: The second experience that solidified my career path was a trip to Ibiza when I was 19. I was standing on a rooftop overlooking a party where a woman was DJing for thousands of people. Her music was a common denominator for all of these strangers who came together to have fun. I can’t DJ, so this is the next best thing.
SB: How is III Points good for Miami’s economy?
EF: Many people don’t think of Miami in October, because they are waiting for Art Basel to bring a big jolt to the local economy. III Points gives people another reason to come experience a different part of the city.
SB: What makes III Points different?
EF: We are dedicated to showcasing local talent. 60% of our lineup is always local acts. When we decide on national artists, it’s important to us that they have not performed in Miami properly, meaning they’ve never performed here, have been in the wrong type of venue or haven’t been in Miami in years.
If you look back at the bill from 2014, there are acts on the bottom that are now headlining major festivals. III Points gives people the opportunity to see established as well as up and coming artists in a more intimate space and in a way that may never be experienced again.
SB: What is your fondest memory from III Points?
EF: There’s a magical moment every year when people are starting to fill in, the acts are beginning to perform and everything is just synchronized. It’s the one perfect and magical moment that you plan for all year. This incredible feeling is why I got into this business in the first place.
SB: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
EF: There are four lessons I’ve learned and live by:
- You are never as prepared as you think you are.
- Things always cost more than you expect.
- You have to be committed to bringing the best of your game.
- Never sell-out.