WASHINGTON — It’s expected to draw 54,000 people to the National Mall this weekend. We’re talking about the Something in the Water Festival.
It’s the first time the event is being held in D.C. and it’s one of a slew of events happening in the District in celebration of Juneteenth.
But this past weekend, we saw agitators disrupt the Pride parade and the March for Our Lives rally in D.C. So how are city officials planning to keep everyone safe at one of the largest events of the year?
Traveon Smith of LGC security has been hired by promoters to manage private security and members of his team are already getting in place for the two-day event.
Right now, training is underway for the hundreds of newly hired security guards who will be working at the festival.
“A target number is pretty much right about 800, 850 guards; but that’s just day of we actually have to do at least 100 plus overnight,” Smith said.
Derrick Parks, CEO of Metropolitan Protective Services, is one of many additional firms assisting. He said entering the festival will be like going through airport security.
In two separate incidents this past weekend at the March for Our Lives rally, and Pride celebrations in Dupont circle, crowds were sent scrambling, scared of gun threats that ended up unfounded. Looking ahead, this team aims to make sure no weapons make it onto the grounds.
"There'll be a fenced-in perimeter for everyone coming to that concert. They will have to go through magnetometers and wands to just get on the ground, Parks said.
The joint partnership between security and D.C. officers will require lots of manpower according to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Deputy Mayor Chris Geldhart.
"A lot of our Metropolitan Police Department, I would say nearly all, we're not fully activated, but nearly all of our Metropolitan Police Department folks are doing rounds throughout the weekends with all of the public events we have going on. It's a good thing, D.C. is open," Geldhart said.
He encourages everyone to sign up ahead of the festival for city alerts.
"We have Alert DC, which is a system that we use to be able to communicate with the public. It's a free service, you just go to alertdc.dc.gov and you can sign up for that and you'll get all the alerts that are going on. You can select in what alerts you want or alerts you don't want and that will help you get more information,” Geldhart said.
Another reminder when it comes to the festival, no marijuana, no knives, no guns and no umbrellas. For a full list of what you can and cannot bring to the festival, click here.
City leaders also encourage everyone to use the metro to get to the festival for those three days.