PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There was Something in the Water in Virginia Beach, but will there be “Something in the Air” in Portsmouth?
A large music festival could be coming to the Portsmouth Sportsplex, but organizers have some hoops to jump through before the city gives them the green light.
Portsmouth residents Lakeesha Atkinson and Germain Green are working to bring a big music festival to the city to fight its violent stereotype.
“It will bring business next year around this time if this festival does great like I know it will. I really think we can elevate the economy around here,” said Green.
They’re calling it the 420ish Unity Festival.
The organizers want to bring the same vibe Something in the Water brought to Virginia Beach. Green says they’re using some of the same staff members Pharrell did, including the same event coordinator.
The organizers are in the first stages of working to make it happen at the Portsmouth Sportsplex. The city manager has sent the festival organizers a conditional permit letter.
Organizers must address several factors, like parking, security, and preventing marijuana at the festival, before they get final approval. From there, the actual permit process would begin.
“Thank you for your willingness to promote the City of Portsmouth! We look forward to a successful event,” said City Manager Angel Jones in the letter.
Read the full letter below.
Green says the 420ish Unity Festival will be the largest hip hop and reggae festival Virginia has seen in the last three years.
It’s scheduled for April 23 and 24 and Green expects about 20,000 people to attend.
The main stage will be on the property’s football fields and a sound barrier will go around the venue.
Is it too early to plan an event this size considering the fight against COVID-19? Green doesn’t think so.
“Masks aren’t mandated, but we will be checking temperatures with radar guns,” explained Green.
The website selling the tickets went live on Saturday and highlights headliners like City Girls, Rick Ross, and Shaggy.
10 On Your Side asked Green if they would refund tickets already purchased if the event isn’t approved by the city. He said he’s confident the event will be a success and it won’t come to that.
Green says the event will cost $1.5 million.
Backyard Entertainment LLC is the umbrella company behind the event.
He says there are eight investors who are local entrepreneurs and business people with that company.
Through a business search and confirmation with Green, 10 On Your Side found out one of the investors is Theresa Lynn Lucas-Lamb, who is the daughter of state Sen. L. Louise Lucas.
Green says the other investors want to stay anonymous out of fear of the event not being a success.
“We have such a bad name; everyone wants to attach themselves to a winner,” Green stated.
The conditional permit letter requires a presentation to the Parks and Recreation Commission describing their event.
That presentation is scheduled at City Hall Wednesday evening.