NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It was all smiles and cheers as small businesses near the Oceanfront learned Pharrell William’s Something in the Water music festival is returning in 2023.
The festival was moved to D.C. this past year after Pharrell called Virginia Beach a “toxic environment”. The rapper announced Wednesday that this year’s music festival would return to the 757 April 28-30,2023.
Many small businesses are excited the festival is back and said that the first year working with SITW was a success.
“My reaction is exactly the same as it was the first year is that that is absolutely fantastic,” Dwayne Appleton, the owner of Java Surf Cafe and Espresso Bar, said. “I hope it is ten times bigger.”
Just down the street, Igor Acord, the owner of Igor’s Custom Signs and Stripes, said there was so much excitement for the festival in 2019.
“That first year, it was such a big giant boost of energy. It was amazing,” he said.
After it was moved to D.C. many local businesses were disappointed to see it go. Appleton said businesses need the festival as a source of income.
“We all need it. We all need the money. We all need the influx and it’s a great opportunity for us,” he said. “You know what we absolutely want them here, but we need them here. We are a community that thrives on other people visiting our town.”
Now that the festival has been officially announced to return, Appleton is already preparing to extend their hours that weekend.
“During the season or events like that, we stay open for dinner,” he said.
Acord said his business didn’t get much foot traffic in the Vibe District. He said the event coordinators planned to set up a pop-up shop.
“Little satellite things back here to spread interest around the vibe and hopefully, that is going to be the case,” he said.
Virginia Beach leaders also shared the same excitement when they learned the news of the festival.
Small businesses are the backbone of Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach and we look forward to ensuring it stays that way. The region itself celebrated — had an economic impact of 25 million dollars in its first year. We understand that a pandemic has come through and a lot of businesses that were in 2019, some are recovering. This festival is one that uplifted all businesses, giving local businesses that opportunity to partake in something monumental.Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse
Small businesses on the Oceanfront have around five months to prepare for thousands to travel into town for the festival, but for right now, many spent their day celebrating the good news and serving their regulars.