Pharrell Williams offers inside look at Something In The Water music festival.
Pharrell Williams is a man of many talents, and now he can add festival organizer to that list. The producer/singer/rapper/fashion mogul welcomed the world to his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va. for the inaugural Something In The Water, a festival chock full of superstars and events that delighted both locals and visitors. From Jay-Z to Deepak Chopra to Virgil Abloh to Sylvia Rhone, Pharrell leaned heavily on the shield of his peers in the music and fashion industries to create something that hasn’t been seen in Virginia in well, ever.
Something In The Water was not just another Coachella or Lollapalooza — and it was clear that Pharrell, his team, and the folks who partnered with him were intentional about making sure the show went smoothly. 35,000 tickets for the event sold out far in advance, and beach accommodations were snapped up just as quickly. Something In The Water was essentially a proof of concept that Virginia could support this level and style of event. Something In The Water took place a few months shy of the 30th anniversary of what are now known as the Greekfest Riots.
In the summer of 1989, black college students partying in Virginia Beach over the Labor Day weekend clashed with police, prompting city leaders to call in the National Guard. Something In The Water also fell on the same weekend as College Beach Weekend, an event which has been a point of contention in recent years. Incidents of unanticipated violence rattled residents and made it more challenging for students to gather. Something In The Water is Williams’ love letter to his home city and state as it is a festival and community-organizing event.
Pharrell Williams’ inaugural version of his Something In The Water music festival in Virginia Beach was forced to cancel its first day Friday after a day-long deluge of heavy rains and wind but it continued earlier this morning! “[Virginia] Beach, the weather wasn’t great today but it’s clearing up and we’re excited to see you first thing in the morning,” Williams added on Twitter. “Thank you for hanging in there … we will not disappoint. Thanks everyone who showed up today, every artist, every company and everyone involved.”
Pharrell With Dave Grohl
A rep for the festival directed inquires to the festival’s social media pages. Heavy rains and severe winds battered the city on-and-off throughout the day, as festival producers eventually deemed the festival too unfit to proceed for safety precautions. Day one of the three-day festival was set to feature Maggie Rogers, Lil’ Uzi Vert, Janelle Monae, Migos, Dave Matthews Band, Diplo and a set by Williams himself. As of Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday’s lineup, which includes sets by Williams, Travis Scott, SZA, Chris Brown and Pusha T, is scheduled to proceed as planned.
Photos by R. Ostermaier. OTHERtone came to Virginia Beach with a panel featuring The Neptunes, Teddy Riley, Timbaland, and Pusha T. Pharrell Williams talked about the importance of bringing the Something In The Water Festival to Virginia Beach. “Black students did not come here to cause trouble, and we still want the HBCUs to come here. It’s not just music, it’s business, the community, the religious leaders, and it’s an inspiration. Music is the thread that connects it all. How long does a horse looks at itself in the water and sees itself and sees its strengths? This is VA and it’s time. The world is gonna see VA for the first time.”
Teddy Riley was an inspiration for Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo who both attended Princess Anne High School just a few blocks away from Teddy Riley’s recording studio. Pharrell says, “Teddy Riley was the guy that brought Micheal Jackson to Virginia. The biggest change in the industry is independence. Today any person can go online and express themselves. I enjoy the independence of putting stuff online and it goes to the masses.” said Pharrell. “I knew The Neptunes were so far ahead of their time it’s like they were on Mars. You have a sound, you have to name it. After you create a sound give it a name so you can have a genre to self. If you don’t look like your music, it won’t connect.” says Teddy Riley.
When each of the artists was asked by Scott Vener, about new Virginia-based artists that impress them, Timbaland adds “Young Crazy has some good music out there”. Timbaland also added that when it comes to visual art in music, he doesn’t see the design, he only sees colors. Michael Chad and Pretty Boy are VA-based artists that Teddy Riley likes. Chad Hugo replied he wasn’t certain, and instead asked the crowd directly if there was anyone present worth listening to — allowing the crowd to shoot their shot and audition in front of the panel.
The experience became an incredibly engaging moment for attendees who had the opportunity to sing and rap in front of these incredibly successful musical tastemakers. One audience member had a demo reel of her work as a producer on a USB and offered it up for a listen and Timbaland took the USB and placed it in his pocket. Teddy Riley says, “Pharrell is the new chapter” when it comes to the evolution of how the music industry is changing. That certainly rings true to what Pharrell has done with SITW. Independent artists don’t have to travel to New York or Los Angeles to “make it big”, instead they can be inspired by the stories shared by these local powerhouses to make it on their own right in their backyard.
OTHERtone Update The Neptunes & Timbaland
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Had an amazing opportunity to witness VA's finest in one place. I am honored and grateful for everthing @kingpush @pharrell @chadhugo @teddyriley1 @timbaland has done for our home. Thank for @somethinginthewater 🔫💦💦 . . . #sitw #somethinginthewater #virginia #757 #news #home #pharrell #pushat #chadhugo #startrak #nerd #vb #virginiaisforlovers #timbaland #hamptonroads
An expanded community garden was unveiled Friday morning at the elementary school Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams attended. Virginia Beach City Public Schools officials said in a news release the garden at Seatack Elementary School was funded by a private donation from Something in the Water and Virginia Natural Gas.
The garden’s opening came hours ahead of Pharrell’s inaugural Something in the Water festival at the Oceanfront. The school district says expansions to Seatack’s garden will include added wheelchair accessibility, a replacement for the existing tool shed and raised garden beds. The garden is one of three at the school, which has a Certified Wildlife Habitat designation from the National Wildlife Federation.
— Deanna Bettineschi (@DeannaWAVY) April 26, 2019
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