VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – It’s just one big party down at the Oceanfront.
Thousands of people turned out, and the roughly five-hour rain delay was long-forgotten when the Something in the Water 2023 kicked off Friday’s slate with a performance by rapper Babyface Ray and finished off the night with Mumford and Sons.
Detroit native Babyface Ray took the Lunar Stage just minutes after gates opened at 5 p.m.., ahead of an opening performance on the main Solar stage at 6 p.m. from “Bust Your Windows” singer Jazmine Sullivan.
“This better be wild. It’s about to be crazy. We’re about to get lit,” said one person in a large group.
People came from the 757 and beyond to catch the festival.
“It’s my first time at a festival,” said Justin Allen of Portsmouth. “I’m having so much fun. I ain’t even seen nobody yet. I love it.”
Adrian Dews Jr. of Virginia Beach, a local entrepreneur, said he was looking forward to the weekend.
“I just want to pay homage to all the artists out here,” Dews said. “This is exhilarating.”
Kelsey Betancourt came from Richmond for Something in the Water.
“This is my first time ever coming to a festival in general,” Betancourt said. “I’m super pumped.”
Many people waited as long as three hours in line to be one of the first ones in on the first night of the festival.
“I’m excited to see everybody,” one person said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Performances ran until around midnight on Friday, with “Day ‘n’ Nite’ singer Kid Cudi taking the stage for the final performance at 11:30 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.
Performances were supposed to start just after noon, but rain and heavy winds put things on pause as festivalgoers eagerly waited for good news. As the afternoon went on the rains calmed, and the sun even popped out just before 3 p.m.
Organizers first announced that the Something in the Water community stages at 17th, 24th and 31st streets, new for 2023, would open at 4 p.m. And by 3:45 p.m., they shared updated set times and announced gates would open at 5.
It’s unclear whether all of the artists who were supposed to start earlier Friday will still perform. Though we do know at least one artist, YvngxChris, shared on his Instagram that he will now perform on Sunday. He was supposed to perform at 1 p.m. Friday.
But nothing was going to rain on the excitement of the thousands who turned out on the first day of Something in the Water 2023 to dance and sing along to the music playing between the Lunar and Solar stages.
If you’re not out there, you can still watch the livestream of performances on Pharrell Williams’ YouTube page. The festival continues Saturday and Sunday.
“Everybody be safe tonight,” another fan said. “Y’all have fun. Y’all have fun. Let’s show them what we’re about.”
Previous coverage from earlier Friday below.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Day 1 of the Something of the Water festival at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront began with unwelcome and familiar news.
Just after 9 a.m. Friday, organizers tweeted that the start of the festival would be delayed until further notice because of the weather. The delay still hadn’t been lifted as of 12:50 p.m.
“Due to rain & high wind gusts, festival gates are delayed until further notice,” the post said. The City of Virginia Beach’s emergency notification system for the festival also sent out an alert saying things were delayed. You can text SITW to 67283 for text updates from the city in addition to alerts from the festival app.
“We’re gonna wait it out, wait to make a decision that obviously is gonna be safe for everybody,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer on Friday’s Hampton Roads Show Something in the Water special. “Remember the first time we had Something in the Water, Friday got washed out, we had a very successful weekend.”
WAVY’s Brett Hall called the conditions simply “miserable.”
“We don’t know if acts going to be merged together or some people are going to be performing, we don’t know yet,” Brett said Friday morning.
By 12:45 p.m., we did learn that the beach tennis (from Norfolk’s Black Girls Tennis Club) and other sports set to be on the beach have been canceled for Friday.
Gates were scheduled to open at noon Friday, with the first performer, Black Sherif, set to hit the Lunar Stage at 12:30 p.m., followed by Gigi Perez on the Solar Stage at 12:35 p.m. The main Solar Stage is at 3rd Street and the Lunar Stage is a few blocks down, at 11th Street.
The inaugural Something in the Water in Virginia Beach, held in April 2019, saw all of its Friday night performances canceled because of severe weather, leading to organizers issuing a refund that night. The weather cooperated that Saturday and Sunday, with some light showers on Sunday.
This year’s Friday night lineup fortunately looks like it will still go on, albeit with delays and possible tweaks to the artist lineup/sets.
If you are looking for live music while you wait out the rain, there’s an unaffiliated event called “Something Indie Water” that starts at noon Friday indoors at the FFX Theater on 16th Street. It’s free and open to the public and will feature dozens of artists from Virginia over the course of the weekend.
WAVY’s meteorologists say a few thunderstorms are possible for Friday afternoon/night, but the weather should improve overall by the evening, with skies becoming partly cloudy.
Most of the rain should be off the coast by about 3 p.m., but wind gusts around from about 10-15 mph could remain.
Follow WAVY on-air and online and download the WAVY Weather App for the latest forecast.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.