Pharrell Williams announces festival, city leaders hopeful for future of college beach weekend


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – This could make a lot of people ‘happy.’

Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams has stepped up to offer events to improve college beach weekend.

He wants to create a 3-day festival to coincide with the event in April that’s often resulted in violence along the oceanfront.

The event will be called “Something in the Water” and it will include everything from music, technology and science, art and food.

We spoke with city leaders who said they’re optimistic this event will bring about change.

Williams said he’s excited to show off where he came from.

“They say Virginia is for lovers so let’s show them the things we love,” Williams said.

The musician tells WAVY-TV 10 it just made sense to produce a festival of this magnitude during college beach weekend. 

“Well there’s an influx of students,” he said.

However, there’s also an influx of outsiders. 

The event got its start a few years ago by word of mouth on social media, but it’s been riddled with shootings and other crime. This year, a woman was shot in the neck and officers have arrested dozens of people over the years.

The Virginia Beach Hotel Association met with Pharrell Friday afternoon and thinks his idea could turn things around.

“They have incredible vision for what this festival could be for Virginia Beach,” said Russell Lyons, president of the association. “I think we shouldn’t let the history of that weekend define what it’s going to be in the future.”

Oceanfront City Councilman John Uhrin agrees.

“I think if we can get through the logistics of how to make it happen and also how to make it happen in really this short time frame, he may surprise is with some pretty interesting stuff,” Uhrin said.

Pharrell and both men said the event will fuel the economy too. 

“It’s also engaging the local companies here too. We quite frankly can’t do this without them,” Williams said.

“That’s the reason that we do a lot of these festivals is to encourage people to come from out of town and have that economic benefit and I think this festival  definitely fits that bill,” Uhrin said.

We’re told the people involved in the planning of ‘Something in the Water’ have worked on other big name events like Austin City Limits, South By Southwest and Coachella.

The festival is just in the early planning stages so there’s no word yet on when it will officially be a go but we will be sure to let you know as soon as we find out.

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