Virginia Beach, concert producer working out ‘kinks’ for Something in the Water 2020


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Ahead of the second Something In the Water Festival at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, city and festival leadership want to make sure they learn from lessons of 2019.

The mega-festival that was the brainchild of superstar and Beach native Pharrell Williams’ is scheduled to run April 20 to 26.

Originally designed to help erase the negative stigma of College Beach Weekend, economists concluded that the event actually delivered taxpayers a slight profit and provided national positive exposure.

In 2020, performances will happen Friday through Sunday, with artists like H.E.R., Beck, Post Malone and the Foo Fighters. However, there will be activities and theme days earlier in the week.

“We’re make sure that the transportation system is harmonious with our community as possible throughout that entire week,” said Brian Solis, assistant to the city manager.

Solis, as the point person between the city and Williams’ team, briefed City Council on the latest event details Tuesday afternoon.

For the last six months, meetings have occurred with all stakeholders to work through safety, transportation and infrastructure logistics, Solis says.

He announced that this year there will be more park and ride options. Event organizers used the Veterans Home Loan Virginia Beach Amphitheater last year, and plan to work with the city to find 12,000 spaces in Princess Anne commons for this year, with NAS Oceana also as a potential option.

Next month, the council will consider renewing the school bus agreement to use public school buses for transportation.

One of the main frustrations in 2019, was the Uber and Lyft pickup situation. From Saturday night into Sunday morning, people had to wait for hours for a ride from the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

Solis said they believe they have a plan to address that.

“It’s a good as plan as any to move forward with, and that is dispersing the ride-sharing lots into three separate lots, parallel to the festival footprint along the Pacific avenue corridors,” Solis said.

Also this year, the festival is asking for the community to get involved. Businesses, restaurants and food vendors can join the SITW Marketplace. Performers can apply to perform around the festival venue.

The deadline for that is this Friday, Feb. 14.

Looking ahead, the council will vote on a $250,000 sponsorship agreement on March 3. Like the festival’s inaugural year, the agreement will come with free use of city facilities and resources.

Typically, festivals at the Oceanfront must pay the city 50 percent of their revenue back for police, public works and fire support.

“We do see sponsoring the full in-kind services of public safety and public works as being a good thing to do as college beach weekend continues to transition,” Solis said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Something in the Water developments here on

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