NORFOLK, Va. — Something in the Water is back in Hampton Roads!
On the second day of his Mighty Dream business forum in Downtown Norfolk, Grammy-award-winning artist Pharrell Williams announced that his "Something in the Water" music festival will return to Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer, Councilmember Aaron Rouse, City Manager Patrick Duhaney, and Deputy City Manager Taylor Adams were present at the Mighty Dream main tent for the announcement.
The date for the festival is set for April 28-30, 2023 and passes will go on sale on Nov. 5, 2022, at 12 p.m.
Pharrell announced that everyone who is attending Mighty Dream Forum will also get free passes to Something in the Water 2023.
“The demand for the festival in Virginia Beach and The 757 - among the people - has never wavered. If anything it has only intensified,” Pharrell said in his announcement.
"Great for our region and the Commonwealth of Virginia," Councilman Rouse said. "This will do more than just fill and line pockets with dollars, but fill people with the spirit of hope."
The festival, which was held for the first time in Virginia Beach in 2019, was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before it was moved to Washington, DC this past summer.
That decision to relocate came in light of the controversy surrounding the fatal shooting of Donovon Lynch by Virginia Beach Police Officer Solomon Simmons at the Oceanfront in March of 2021.
"I wish the same energy I've felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative's life," Pharrell said in a letter he wrote to city officials in the aftermath of the shooting.
Lynch was Williams' cousin.
In his announcement on Wednesday, Pharrell said "the time is right" to bring the festival back to Virginia Beach.
"Let's do it, man," Pharrell said. "It's for our region to bring it together."
Added Rouse: "Understanding friends can have tough conversations to get to the place where we are today, which is celebrating something that's great and something special across different spectrums. If you have an issue, you address it head-on, which is what we've done."
A full concert line-up is expected to be announced soon.
Passes can be bought on SITW's website and also on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Virginia residents will be able to purchase passes at a special in-person "Locals Only" presale at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach Box Office.
Passes can be purchased in person at the box office with a government-issued ID while supplies last. Fees are waived for the in-person purchase with a two-pass limit per person.
Meanwhile, the City of Virginia Beach still needs to sort out an official agreement with the festival.
It will hold a public comment session during its city council meeting on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. The proposed contract terms are posted on the city's website.
The city council is expected to vote on the proposed contract terms at its Dec. 6 meeting.
"Whatever money we invest in this, we'll get it back," Mayor Dyer asserted. "No just in revenue, but recognition of Virginia Beach."
At a past Virginia Beach City Council meeting, it was reported that the inaugural Something in the Water generated an economic impact of more than $24 million for Hampton Roads.
Dyer added, "My sincerest hope is this becomes a legacy event."