More details revealed about Something in the Water fest in Va. Beach


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — With less than two months to go before Pharrell’s Something in the Water festival, more details are being revealed, including info on major sponsors, programming and a visual map of where events will take place at the Oceanfront. 

“One of the things we keep hearing is this is a replacement for (College) Beach Week(end),” said Robby Wells, with Pharrell’s “I Am Other” company. “We really don’t see it that way. We see it as harnessing potential for beach week, that hasn’t been harnessed before.”

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Wells, along with a representative from festival producer BWG Inc., gave a presentation to the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission on Thursday afternoon, about what Oceanfront business owners should expect out of the star-studded event.’

“We expect more than 25,000 people to be attending each day of the festival,” said Emily May Ockenden with BWG. 

More than 25 national acts including Pharrell, fellow Virginia natives Missy Elliott, Pusha T, D.R.A.M. and Dave Matthews Band have been announced to take the stage April 26-28, and more artists are expected to be announced before tickets go on sale Friday at noon. 

While main acts will take the 5th Street Stage, a preliminary map reveals many of the other big name brands partnering with the event.

Members of Pharrell's team released a preliminary map of the first Something in the Water festival to occure in Virginia Beach April 26th-28th (Larry Carney/WAVY-TV)

SONY will have a “360 Audio Experience” at 19th and Pacific, while Adidas will have basketball games running in the Convention Center. 

On Sunday, a pop-up church will occur at 16th Street on the beach.

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“The pop-up church has been a must-have for Pharrell from the beginning,” Wells said. “We are inviting area churches to hold their service on the beach that week.”

Late night programing, which has long been pushed for by the community following violent College Beach Weekends past, will be provided by Trap Karaoke on Saturday 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

“It’s an event that sells out everywhere it goes across the country,” Wells said. “90 dates a year it will sell out.”

There are no single day passes to the festival, and at this point there are no plans of making any available, according to Ockenden. While tickets are currently limited to approximately 25,000, it’s likely the crowds will be much larger.

Many business owners were interested in what will be done to make sure they could still come to work.

“Employees and residents of the Oceanfront may need to get credentials in order to come in and out of the area,” said Brian Solis, an Assistant to the City Manager. He also mentioned Atlantic Avenue could be closed at times.

The Atlantic Avenue trolleys will run on a loop between the major event locations along both Atlantic, Pacific Avenues and the Convention Center. The City of Virginia Beach will pay for Hampton Roads Transit to operate the special event, according to a spokesperson. 

Satellite parking lots north and south of the Oceanfront are also being organized. 

For those coming from outside the region, crowdfunded regional shuttles are an option BWG is looking into.

“Say that I am in Washington, DC, I am in Richmond. You apply for a seat, as soon as I hit a certain number of seats per bus, the shuttle bus is allocated to that area,” Ockenden said. “We use it for other festivals and it works quite well.”

Final details are far from finalized and organizers teased that bigger announcements are still to come. 

Tickets go on sale March 8 at noon at the event’s website.


CORRECTION: A previous version of the article stated Mr. Wells said “harvesting” rather than “harnessing.” We regret the error. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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