In just four years, the ladies behind III Points have turned the music festival into one of Miami’s most anticipated events. Last year, the III Points music festival included heavy hitters like M83, Flying Lotus, and Redman & Method Man.
So it only made sense to make the kickass women behind the scenes the focus of our first #SquadGoals story. The series will highlights groups in Miami who are making amazing things happen, as a team.
Last year, we sat down with the crew — Erica Freshman, Lyly Villanueva, Cristina Gonzalez, Veronica Gessa, Aileen Quintana, Ashley Venom, Courtney Smith and Michelle Granado — in their music-inspired office in Little River to find out how they make the magic happen. There’s a killer photo shoot here.
Let’s start at the beginning. How did this team of lady bosses come together?
Erica: It was a lot of luck and good energy. Lyly, Michelle, Veronica and Aileen have been with us from inception. Then Courtney and Cristina came on in the second year. We got Ashley as our newest addition. It just happened that really great people came together.
Was it intentional to have a team comprised mostly of women?
Erica: I wish I could say it was. But it was actually just circumstance.
So what’s the team vibe like?
Courtney: Chill but focused.
Aileen: I think we influence and push each other a lot. We’re so separated in so many different areas inside the festival but we inspire each other in various ways. We ricochet ideas off one another. And we are each beautiful individuals and I love that.
Erica: I think one of the things we don’t fall victim to is the bullshit about girls and fighting. I think it’s actually the opposite here. We all support and help each other. If somebody is having any kind of struggle then three people are there to pick up the pieces, for no credit, no reward, just to help. It’s a real sisterhood.
Do you find any challenges in working in a predominantly female team?
Erica: No, I actually think it’s totally the opposite. (Everyone nods in agreement.)
Is there any noticeable difference in working with a mostly female team?
Veronica: I think we work in an industry that’s predominantly male driven, especially in music. But for our team specifically, there’s just a lot of really good creative energy that comes out of working as women. We just see the world a certain way. But even with all of us there are still male components to us all. We are kind of tomboys at the same time. You have your feminine girls and your tomboys, but we are all the same. The energy is balanced. It’s more understanding, fun, and free flowing
Courtney: I think comes out in the visual also that there are a lot of women involved. The graphics that come out are not super manly. Even though they are very strong and dark, the fact that a lot of women are around keeps it from looking boringly hyper-masculine and typical. You can see it play out in the visual information that comes out of III Points.
I’m glad you touched on that, because I wanted to ask: How is it reflected in III Points, from artist selections to the actual production?
Michelle: I don’t think it’s music taste, because if you look at the line up it’s not necessarily a “girly” lineup.
Erica: I think our goal for III Points is always to be artistic and true to good music and program what’s best. And if that tends to lean more toward male or female artists we are open to that. We don’t really ever think about it in those terms. We obviously all come from a feminine perspective, but the intention is never because we are girls. The intention is to be creative and artistic.
Do you ever find that people react to your team differently?
Veronica: I think that when people walk into the office and our room full of babes they love it.
Ashley: They are definitely surprised. Pleasantly surprised.
Veronica: I mean, who wouldn’t be. Just look around.
We have to agree with you on that one.
Veronica: But when it comes down to it, we all work really hard. So it’s exciting for some people, especially other women, to see that it is a lot of girls behind it. But I think it’s a pleasant surprise and people love it. But it’s not something we think about all the time. To us, we’re just at the office. We just happen to all have boobs.
Lyly: I actually think about it all the time. But not in a bad way, I’m proud of it. I think of it quite often in the fact that I look around the room and think there are a lot of badass women in this room and we all work well together and that’s not easy to come by. So yeah, I think about it all the time and whenever people ask me about it I always proudly say that it’s a mostly female operation, with the exception of three men.
What do each of you bring to the team and III Points?
Lyly: I bring the organization aspect. And I often act as the muscle. It’s not my one of my more favorite things to do, but it’s a reality. But I make sure we are staying on task and handle logistics. I’m the get shit done [person].
Erica: I think I touch on everything and everyone, all the time. I’m pretty laid back but I also really believe in pairing people and letting them bring their own work and perspectives. I want to show off their talents.
Veronica: I bring the sex jokes. The color black. I bring some new creativity and fun. But that’s my vibe, love and pizza. But yeah, mostly sex jokes.
Ashley: I don’t know because I hate talking about myself.
Well, actually, I’m a little curious about the fraternal twin thing that you and Courtney have. You appear so different, but you are often joined at the hip. Tell me more about that.
Ashley: I feel like we just sort of gravitate towards each other because we both have very similar goals. We are both socially aware and involved in our local scene. Everyone here is very prominent in the local scene in some way, but the two of us have the same targets and interests.
Courtney: Our goals are aligned. We get each other. And we both oversee the herbal department. Soooo…
Cristina: I think I bring a certain technical prowess to the team. So if there’s ever a digital or printing question or computer problem, I’m the one that answers that question. I try to be a blank board for whatever everyone is feeling every year because every year the creative vision changes. I try not to bring too much of my personal creative into things and just let it settle and let it show how everybody else is feeling creatively throughout the year. And of course technical and printing. I can print things. But that’s actually pretty cool because dudes are usually the technical ones
Aileen: I really believe that I have this philosophical, abstract view of how I see the world and it’s a direct effect of who I am hanging out with and their influences, so my teammates constantly inspire me to come up with new concepts and ideas, whether it’s on the dance floor or in the office. I was working really heavily in fashion and now I am completely within the music world, creating a visual, interactive installation pieces. And because of that I feel like I eat music and then I come out with acid out of my eyes. [Laughs] I’ve been able to translate music into something visual. I bring the color.
Michelle: I feel like I’m the mediator/observer of the office. I tend to make the peace between people a lot. I’m good at seeing things from both sides and I take that into account. I’m also very organized and OCD, but I am quiet. Everyone calls me silent, but deadly.
What act or acts are you most looking forward to?
(Everyone immediately goes silent.)
Cristina: That’s not easy.
Aileen: The whole piece is a performance. It’s a show. The show is a performance in itself. It’s different tiers, different layers, different levels. It’s not one thing . People are describing it as a beautiful lineup, but it’s the curation behind the music. How we’re seeing it, it’s a beautiful melody. We’re like conductors in a beautiful symphony that we are portraying.
Erica: What she said. But really, I am beyond humbled and excited to see LCD Soundsystem
Swoon… aren’t we all.
BONUS: Here is who they say absolutely cannot miss if you want to…
Cry: LCD Soundsystem
Stare in awe: Oneohtrix Point Never
Dance: DJ Koze
Get Hype: Little Simz
Crowdsurf: The Oh Sees
Panty drop: Jessy Lanza
Turn Up: Denzel Curry & Earl Sweatshirt
(NOTE: Badass ladies not pictured: Sarah Moody, 28, Lauren Perlstein, 34, Molly Hawkins, 32, Sam Glennon, 21, Camila Alvarez, 28, Claudia Nunes Koo, 21, and Elissa Kroman 27 )