PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The 420ish Unity Festival is just two days away. On Thursday morning, crews started setting up the Portsmouth Sportsplex and transforming it into a music festival.
Festival Founder Germain Green hopes to bring a new image to the City of Portsmouth.
“I’m excited to see this city elevate,” Green said.
The 420ish Unity Festival is expected to draw a big crowd at the Portsmouth Sportsplex. Organizers say they plan to have security.
“I expect to have zero incidents in the festival,” he said.
Green said he worked with Portsmouth Police and the Sheriff’s Office to develop a security plan to keep concertgoers and community members safe. A spokesperson with Portsmouth Police said the department's primary focus is traffic control.
“Including the perimeter out in the neighborhood," he said. "People won’t be able to drive up to the festival. They won’t be able to park across the street from the festival because we have perimeters set up.”
This first-time festival is drawing support from city leaders.
“If this goes successful, which I believe it will be, we may have other opportunities to help the city because we need those types of things,” said Portsmouth Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes.
Mayor Shannon Glover said the event draws skepticism from some. He said he doesn’t want the stigma of the marijuana industry to overshadow the event’s potential.
“We haven’t had a festival that catered to or participated in an industry like this, perhaps," Glover said. "So, it is different... but just because it’s different doesn’t mean it brings a great deal of negativity.”