VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – In 2019, the message was that if you didn’t have tickets for Something in the Water, please don’t come to the Oceanfront.

Not anymore.

Early in April, 10 On Your Side rode Atlantic Avenue with Capt. Harry McBrien, commander of the Second Precinct.

“This year if you don’t have a ticket, come down anyway,” McBrien said. “There are all types of free music events going on at three city stages.”

They are located at 17th, 24th, and 31st streets.

Asked what his one concern would be about the Something in the Water festival, he said it would be traffic.

“It is going to be congested down here,” McBrien said. “It’s not really a concern. It’s the Oceanfront people (who) want to come here.”

Police strategy with traffic has changed too.

They will not be massively impacting traffic. Unlike 2019, there will be no multiple road closures, only from 3rd Street down to Rudee Loop – the footprint of the festival.

There will be restricted access in other areas.

Traffic will be diverted only when it becomes a standstill or potential danger for emergency vehicles.

Deepak Nachnani owns Coastal Edge and is president of the Atlantic Avenue Association. He said there has been constant communication between police and the Association.

“We are meeting on a monthly basis, and then we meet on a quarterly basis, so we have had several meetings in the past six months,” Nachnani said. “We have done this to get the extensive planning of what’s going to happen over the next 72 hours.”

McBrien summed up Something in the Water this way.

“It will be two miles of celebration,” McBrien said. “If you do not have a ticket, come down anyway. There are all types of events in all the parks.”

There are several cameras along Atlantic Avenue. Images are viewed in a room that becomes the Command Center during events.

“The entire police department is activated,” McBrien said. “Days off are canceled. We are bringing in our (Virginia) State Police brothers and sisters to assist us with traffic direction and things like that.”

If shots are fired, police are on it with ShotSpotter.

Those coming to Something in the Water will find an amazingly well-lit Atlantic Avenue. The new LED lights are so bright it hurts to directly look at the light.

To increase police presence in the 21st Street party block, the city established the Virginia Beach Police Department Substation in June 2021. It has not opened yet, but the sign alone, police claim, is reducing crime.

Police have been in constant contact with extensive planning with the Atlantic Avenue Association.

The message: Deliver a Positive Vibe.

“The police have told us to have fun and be welcoming and don’t stress,” Nachnani said. “The only thing that will slow us down is rain.”