After three years, Pharrell Williams’ acclaimed SOMETHING IN THE WATER festival returns home to Virginia Beach, VA. VIP passes sold out before the artist lineup was announced, and fans on social media say they don’t care because “we’re talking about Pharrell. He’s not gonna bring no one, but the best.”
The three-day festival first debuted at the Oceanfront in 2019, was canceled in 2020 and 2021, and resurfaced in 2022 in Washington D.C., rather than Virginia Beach after an unresolved disagreement with the city.
In November, Pharrell Williams announced his SOMETHING IN THE WATER art, culture, and music festival would be returning to his hometown of Virginia Beach from April 28th – 30th. He tweeted SITW “is back in the 757 for 2023.”
In a press release, Pharrell stated, “The demand for the festival in Virginia Beach and The 757 – among the people – has never wavered. If anything it has only intensified.” He goes on to say, “I need to come back home. There is a pervasive feeling by almost everyone that the festival belongs in Virginia Beach, and the time is right to bring it back.”
2023 VIP Festival Passes Sell Out Before Artist Lineup Announced
Festival passes were first released on November 5th during an exclusive in-person Virginia “locals only” sale despite an unknown artist lineup.
“Wild as hell we out here buying tickets with no line up. We might be watching the Teletubbies but it will be a whole vibe,” a Facebook user commented on the SOMETHING IN THE WATER official page. Another responded, “frfr [laughing emoji] just bought 2 tickets.. Issa vibe tho.”
Enthusiastic fans have faith in Pharrell’s choice of performers, dishing out $525-$600 for VIP passes now sold out. Three-day general admission passes are still available, starting at $299.
2022 D.C. Attendee Says It Didn’t Have the Same ‘Vibe’ as Virginia Beach
In 2022, the festival was held in Washington, D.C., over Juneteenth weekend. Pharrell told EBONY around 50,000 people showed up, but the crowd’s energy made it feel like more. He says, “The amount of unity, love and communal camaraderie that was felt was just on another level.”
Last year’s performances took place on the National Mall. The festival featured award-winning artists such as Pusha T, Chloe x Halle, 21 Savage, Justin Timberlake, T.I., Dave Matthews Band, Ashanti + Ja Rule, Lil Baby, Usher, and Calvin Harris.
Although the festival was successful, it presented a logistical nightmare for the District. The DCist reported that attendees struggled with overcrowding and a lack of shade. At one point, Fire Marshals had to shut down all entrances and turn people away.
Charmaine Cannon, an event administrator, told The Virginian Pilot that the festival did not have the same “vibe” as Virginia Beach. “It’s just something about the beach that’s unmatched,” she said.
SOMETHING IN THE WATER Aims to Unite the Community and Celebrate Diversity
SOMETHING IN THE WATER strives to celebrate the culture of Pharrell’s hometown. Its mission is to celebrate the diversity and “magic” of Virginia Beach, emphasizing giving back to the community. Pharrell hopes this legacy will live on even after the weekend event.
SOMETHING IN THE WATER is designed to highlight topics that are personally important to Pharrell, such as art and music as keys for inspiring creativity and positive change in people’s lives. It also marks a chance for people to discuss important topics, including education, small business, and social issues.
From musicians and students to artists and activists, this weekend event brings together all types of inspiring individuals to promote opportunity and empowerment.
What To Expect at This Year’s Event
According to the SOMETHING IN THE WATER website, the 2023 lineup and event details will be announced early this year. Eager festival goers can sign-up for email alerts to receive updates on the event.
The multi-day concert will be held at the 5th Street Beach Stage on Atlantic Avenue from Friday, April 28th to Sunday, April 30th, 2023. All ages are welcome, and children under five can get in free with a paying adult. The festival will also have an off-site Marketplace where attendees will find local retailers, grab-and-go goodies, fashion, and local art.
13News Now reported that hotels hit 90% occupancy as part of SOMETHING IN THE WATER’s $21 million economic impact on the coastal city in 2019. John Zirkle, president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, encourages 2023 festival attendees to book hotels early.
Event coordinators are accepting applications from volunteers, local businesses, and restaurants interested in participating in the festival.
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This article originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured image credit [@benhoudijk/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel easier.