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VB recognizes crowd concerns for ‘Something in the Water’, but looks to positives

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — There are 24 days until Something in the Water launches at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

It’s estimated the crowd from across the country will be somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people, but it could also be more. And that has some council members concerned.

It was October 26, 2018, when Virginia Beach native and national superstar Pharrell Williams announced in six months to that date he would unveil one of the largest music festivals for the ages.

“They say Virginia is for lovers, right? Well let’s show them the things we love,” Pharrell said. 

With 24 days to go, concerns are minimal, but they are concerns nonetheless. Safety, traffic, tens of thousands showing up with no more tickets available.

WAVY’s full Something in the Water coverage page

“It isn’t the 35,000 to the ticketed events,” said Councilman John Moss. “My concern is the thousands that could show up with no tickets, and we can’t get all the people in the physical space.”

City Manager Dave Hansen says traffic is a concern.

“Traffic will always be a concern, but we are seeing a unique shuttle system, and we are working through the discussions … and I support using our school buses as well.”

Vice Mayor Jim Wood adds: “My biggest concern is the crowd. The dynamic and logistics of moving the large quantity of people, and it’s going to be four days of July Fourth-level traffic and crowds.”

Hansen is confident everything is on track and on schedule.

“Are we on track? Yes very much so … I don’t see any danger signs. No, I don’t think so.”

It is believed at the highest levels of Virginia Beach government that “Something in the Water” could be really big on many levels, and all of them important.

“I think it is important to demonstrate diversity for our community, and it is important from a tourism standpoint,” said Councilman Louis Jones. 

Councilman Aaron Rouse uses the word diversity as many others do.

“We want to be a fertile ground of diversity, for inclusion, we are not just talking about music.”

The point person for the City of Virginia Beach with “Something in the Water” is Brian Solis, who is Assistant to the City Manager.

He was too busy to do an on-camera interview, so we did a phone interview.

“We want to accommodate the folks who want to come down and be part of the weekend and festival in a safe way, and is enjoyable for everybody,” Solis said. 

Many believe “Something in the Water” will be a transformative event, that we as a community will never be the same after it, and in a positive way, says Councilwoman Sabrina Wooten.

“You are also bringing together people who are interested in education, arts, film, also with the diversity this will be a huge event,” Wooten. 

Solis has a second concern too, “I’m concerned when people are leaving the events on Friday and Saturday nights. We want it to be orderly, efficiently run between the festival organizers, and the city.”

Solis is confident “Something in the Water” will be unforgettable, and people will have, and will need plenty of this: “Patience. Please bring your patience to be around that many people. I think it is critical for everybody to have their patience.”

MORE: Community meeting set for SITW, College Beach Weekend

Hansen concludes: “This is a really unique opportunity for the city to step out in a welcoming and inclusive way, and show the world we are the preferred community on the East Coast of the United States.”

Brian Solis is also putting out word to visitors to fill up campgrounds. There are several within 15 minutes of the Oceanfront. You go to the campground. Get on the bike. Get to the Oceanfront and become a pedestrian. He says it’s the easiest way to get around.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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