VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The wait is over. Pharrell Williams officially announced the line up for his "Something in the Water" festival.
In a Twitter video, artists included Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Jaden Smith, Jhene Aiko, Kaytranada, Maggie Rogers, Migos, Diplo, Deepak Chopra, Radiant Children, Dram, Missy Elliot, Mac DeMarco, Geoffrey Canada, Trap Karaoke, Ferg, SZA, Pusha T, Kaws, Masego, John-Robert, J Balvin, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Pharrell and Friends, Janelle Monae, Virgil Abloh, Pop Up Church Service, Leikeli47, Rosalia, and the Dave Matthews Band.
"Something in the Water" hopes to become the East Coast version of SXSW.
The festival is tentatively scheduled for April 26 through April 28. That's when College Beach Weekend, an event that's generated a lot of criticism in the past, will happen this year.
Old Dominion University freshman Demetre South said the event could change the reputation of the area, and college students are already changing their plans in preparation to attend.
“It’s going to be very packed, there’s going to be so many college students there and I feel like it’s going to be one of the biggest events in 2019," South said.
Pharrell said in an interview with The Associated Press that he created the festival to give back to the community that raised him and helped him achieve his goals and dreams.
"Virginians are taste-makers," he said, naming famous folks from the state, from Ella Fitzgerald to Allen Iverson to Missy Elliott.
"Virginia has been home to some of the most gifted artists, athletes, and scientists to ever live. And it makes sense - the people of Virginia are one-of-a-kind: uniquely gritty, bold, and brilliant," Pharrell said. "Virginia needs this right now and the world will see what we Virginians have known all along: there really is Something in the Water."
The festival won't just focus on music: The film "The Burial of Kojo" - acquired by Ava DuVernay's ARRAY company - will be screened, followed by a discussion. The film will premiere on Netflix on March 31.
Something in the Water will also include a pop-up church service, karaoke featuring trap music as well as moments with wellness expert Deepak Chopra and Geoffrey Canada, the president of the Harlem Children's Zone whose work has transformed the lives of thousands of inner-city youth.
"It's been fun curating the artist-performers," said the Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated Pharrell, who has produced hits for everyone from Jay-Z to Britney Spears.
Virginia Beach Mayor Robert "Bobby" Dyer said the festival "is going to be a transformative event for our city."
"We are absolutely thrilled with the plans Pharrell and his team have for this year. There will be no doubt that what is 'in the water' around Virginia Beach is 'something' very special," he said.
A big supporter of the event from the early stages is Councilman Aaron Rouse.
"It just goes to show that this area has so much talent, not only from the music industry but the sports industry, movie stars, to educational leaders," he said.
Councilman Rouse thinks the festival is about more than just music, but a cultural shift as well, for a weekend known for having its fair share of issues in the past.
"It's about finding solutions," he said.
According to the city, in 2017, visitors spent a record nearly $2.5 billion in Virginia Beach. And, with a festival this star-studded, Councilman Rouse thinks it'll add to visitor spending.
With people expected to flood the oceanfront for the festival, from booking hotels to eating at local restaurants, a security plan is crucial. The councilman said leaders are already discussing a plan for that.
"Trust me. Trust me when I say we are building an alliance with state police, across all security measures. Virginia Beach is not holding anything back. Safety is our number one priority," said Councilman Rouse.