WASHINGTON D.C., DC — For concertgoers of the original Something in the Water Festival in Virginia Beach in 2019, the revival in 2022 held a much different experience.
"You could tell the difference between the beach setting and that city setting. A lot more of an open flow with the Oceanfront," Portsmouth podcaster Reggie Scott said.
This year, Virginia Beach lost out on hosting Pharrell Williams' famed festival, after hosting its kickoff festival in 2019. Pharrell, a Virginia Beach native, moved it to the streets of the country's capital, previously citing claims of a "toxic energy" in his hometown.
“The first one was magical. I knew that it wasn’t going to be the exact same, so I set my expectations low. I knew it’d be a lot of people. Regardless, it was great, it was an awesome time," Willie Williams said.
The three-day festival, held on Independence Avenue near the National Mall, was filled with A-list acts like Pharrell, Pusha T, Usher and more this Juneteenth holiday weekend.
Throughout the weekend, some took to social media to raise concerns of crowd capacities when in the festival area, a sentiment Scott echoed.
“They initially said people could leave, go somewhere outside then come back in. There were people who were turned away from coming back in at all because they were at capacity," Scott said, who added that he felt the condensed city environment made it more difficult to move around between the stages.
"It felt everything was too close-knit. I’d feel bad for people that were claustrophobic," Scott said.
Williams, a Hampton Roads native who's referred to by friends as the "Concert King," said only at certain times for certain acts did it feel like there wasn't enough space, but overall said it was a positive festival-going experience.
“Compared to 2019, it was on the Oceanfront so there is more space. It was kind of narrow, but they made it work," Williams said.