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Weather cancels day three of Something in the Water, festivalgoers hope for a rain plan next year

Strong storms, including a Tornado Warning in Virginia Beach, resulted in the city shutting down the festival.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Storms and tornado warnings across Hampton Roads on Sunday prompted Virginia Beach city leaders to delay and finally cancel day three of the Something in the Water Music Festival. 

The City of Virginia Beach issued the following statement just after 6 p.m. with the announcement:

"Following several calls and meetings today with the National Weather Service, festival organizers and in consultation with our emergency management leadership, the City of Virginia Beach has made the decision to cancel evening festival activity on Sunday, April 30. 

It was determined with high confidence that severe weather storm warnings tonight would impact the safety of all festival areas throughout this evening. Weather conditions today have already included multiple lines of storms with heavy rain, strong winds, small craft advisories and lightning. These conditions are anticipated to continue throughout the night, which also make festival logistics and public safety planning extremely difficult. The City of Virginia Beach considers the tornado warning issued at 5:47 p.m. to be extremely hazardous to the safety and well-being of event attendees and staff. 

“No one wants to make this call, but we cannot predict nor negotiate with the weather tonight. It is our responsibility to ensure public safety above all else,” said City Manager Patrick Duhaney. “The City thanks the Something in the Water team, our public safety teams and City staff for their hard work this weekend under fluctuating weather conditions, and we appreciate everyone’s understanding of this difficult decision.” 

Despite the stormy weather, some festival goers hung around the Oceanfront on Sunday hoping for a different outcome. 

“We kind of had a feeling it might get canceled, but you can always have faith that maybe good things happen,” said Virginia Beach native Mario Raden. 

Festival organizers first paused Sunday’s musical lineup around 11 a.m. That included a beachside pop-up church service many people also trekked to the Oceanfront for. 

“I’m here for the church on the water,” said Virginia Beach resident George Cabarrus. 

“Delay might be a good thing because it might move out and make it much safer,” said Virginia Beach resident Emmanuel Thoroughgood. 

Then around 4 p.m., festival organizers announced they were monitoring the weather and working to resume performances.

Genaya Preston traveled from Connecticut to enjoy the shows.

“Other than the rain everything else has been amazing,” Preston said. “So I think if they have an indoor event next year to plan for something like this if it is going to rain again, that may be more helpful.”

Many people hanging around Sunday echoed Preston saying Friday and Saturday’s concerts made their weekend worth it.

“I got everything I wanted, said Eastern Shore resident Eddie Maldonado Lopez. “I saw every artist. I saw Kid Cudi. I saw everybody ya know, great things happen hear ya know?”

“The fact that we get to experience this two times now is awesome and I hope they bring it back next year,” Raden said. “I just hope they can maybe have a backup plan as far as if weather does happen.”

Pharrell Williams posted on Facebook following the cancellation and said the past few days at Something in the Water have been the best. He also said next year he wants to switch up the festival dates. 

"Next year we will shift the dates because this rain ain’t playing, but we will be,” Pharrell Williams posted. “Next year, more acts, more merch, more food… just more!"

Festival organizers posted on the SITW official website that they will give out refunds. They said people will get 33% of the base price from admission passes back. They said those transactions be automatically processed beginning tomorrow, and take approximately 14 days.

Following the cancelation, Pharrell took to social media to thank everyone who came to the festival and those who helped out.

"We are the best," Pharrell wrote. "These past few days at SOMETHING IN THE WATER have been the best. Even during this Tornado Watch and Lightning Storm right now as I type, we are the best. Thank you for giving the folks that travel here that energy and that LOVE that only we can give. Thank you to our partners, the vendors, production, policemen, firemen, the city council, the mayor and all who volunteered. The spirit here was felt everywhere!"

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