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.
Last October, Pharrell Williams and his longtime manager, Ron Laffitte, met with officials from the city of Virginia Beach, Va., the Grammy-winning producer’s hometown, to pitch a new festival, Something In The Water’, that they wanted to launch this summer. “Most people thought we were insane,” says Laffitte, who was told that 2020 would be more realistic. But by mid-November, the Virginia Beach City Council had approved the idea, and on March 3, Williams unveiled a three-day lineup that includes Missy Elliott, Dave Matthews Band and Travis Scott.
“Something in the Water is a true celebration of the people of my hometown,” says Williams. “It’s an experience they deserve, [while] guests are going to get a peek into what we’re all about.” Beyond the economic boost that a festival can bring to a city, Laffitte says the pair won over Virginia Beach with their simple goal: cater to, and showcase, the people of the city. “There’s nothing about where [Williams] comes from that should have given him the hope that he could have the remarkable life he has,” says Laffitte. “What he wants to illustrate by coming back to Virginia Beach is that anyone who lives here can have that too.”
Festival-goers can add Diddy and Snoop Dogg to the list of musicians they’ll see at the Something In The Water festival late next month. Usher and Gwen Stefani have also been added to the list. The new names were released early Friday morning, drumming up excitement before tickets went on sale at noon. Early bird general admission passes started at $150 and VIP passes started at $450.
The three-day festival put together by Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams will be at the Oceanfront from April 26-28. Organizers said as many as 25,000 people a day could attend. This week, the city of Virginia Beach also signed on to sponsor $250,000 toward the festival through tourism investment funds.
The city is moving forward on plans for a three-day festival pitched by Pharrell Williams to coincide with College Beach Weekend. It would be the first time that Virginia Beach organizes events the same weekend tens of thousands of college students descend on the area for spring break. Last year, a task force comprised of community leaders and business owners recommended organized programming to manage crowd control.
Something In The Water is planned for April 26 to 28, the city manager has confirmed. Pharrell, a city native and entertainment star, has said he envisions a yearly gathering that becomes like more established music events around the country. The City Council will be briefed today on aspects of the festival. The official lineup of performers and guest speakers will be announced next week along with the date that tickets go on sale. Continue reading HERE!
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