VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The City of Virginia Beach’s proposed sponsorship of the 2023 Something in the Water music festival allows organizers to keep more of their revenue than they did for the inaugural festival, while allowing for the free use of city property and staff.

The terms were up for a public hearing in front of City Council Tuesday night, and a possible vote on December 6. They were only ironed out the day before the return of the festival was announced, according to Mayor Bobby Dyer. However the push to bring the festival back had been going on for several months.

Public input Tuesday was largely positive and supportive, but some wondered who will really benefit. Mike Bisque says he’s homeless and told council that “the problem we must address is that the lowest paid people who live here can’t even afford to stay alive”.

Former police chief Jim Cervera says the initial 2019 music festival continues to resonate.

“What we felt from a social perspective is still being felt today. We still see young people wearing the hats and the T-shirts that say Something in the Water, and when you mention it, they talk about it from a positive standpoint.”

Local artist and Cox High School graduate Charles Rasputin Burnell says the initial SITW shows that the region can highlight diversity and a sense of welcome to an international audience.

Dyer said it’s important to show the city is committed to partnering with festival founder Pharrell Williams.

“Something in the Water is a jewel that has proven effective. This is the opportunity to build that bridge of positivity back,” Dyer said.

Under the proposed sponsorship agreement, the City of Virginia Beach would allow for the festival organizers to keep all admissions, meals and the local portion of state sales taxes for all transactions that occurs on festival grounds.

That equates to 10% of ticket sales, 5.5% of food and beverage and 1% for sales. Festival grounds includes 4th Street to 15th Street and online ticket sales, according to the city.

In addition the city would not charge the festival for the use of resort stages, select parking lots, use of police, fire, EMS and public works and the convention center. The city would also support the city’s request to use Virginia Beach City Public School buses for shuttles as they did in 2019. That decision is ultimately up to the school board.

City staff estimates the value of the sponsorship could be roughly $2 million. The city will provide $500,000 to the festival up front to help pay for marketing costs.

The proposed agreement is far more than the festival received its inaugural year. In 2019, the city pledged a flat $250,000 to the festival. They also threw in the cost of public safety and public works, which cost roughly $300,000.

Dyer said the increase in support is important.

“We want to make this a legacy event from now on and every year in Virginia Beach,” Dyer said.

The 2019 event spurred an estimated $1.1 million in direct revenue to the city, with $285,000 being profit.

WAVY’s Chris Horne contributed to this story.