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Virginia Beach city council approves contract to bring 'Something in the Water' back

The Virginia Beach city council voted 10-1 to approve an agreement to move forward with bringing the festival back.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Tuesday night, Virginia Beach is one step closer to getting Something in the Water back.

The council voted to move forward with a contract between the city and organizer Pharrell Williams.

The Grammy award-winner and Virginia Beach native premiered the event at the Oceanfront in 2019, took it to Washington this year and will return to the beach next spring.

The three-day event brought thousands of people to the beach and millions of dollars to the city back in 2019.

After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, Pharrell pulled the festival in 2022 because of "toxic energy" in the city, and moved it to the nation's capital.

His cousin, Donovon Lynch, was shot and killed by a police officer in Virginia Beach shortly before that decision.

Now, Williams has announced the time is right to bring the festival back to Virginia Beach.

"Let’s do it man. It’s for our region, to bring it together," he said during the Mighty Dream forum in Norfolk.

It’s a decision that has excited many, but disappoints some.

Tuesday night, Virginia Beach city council voted 10-1 to approve an agreement to move forward with bringing the festival back.

The city has $2 million reserved to spend on the festival, but that doesn’t mean the council will choose to spend it all.

"We are going to start the summer in a very very positive way," Mayor Bobby Dyer said during the meeting.

That agreement says the city will provide an advance of $500,000 for marketing efforts by festival organizers. It also says the city will provide:

  • Use of various resort stages for concerts 
  • Use of agreed-upon public parking lots for direct festival support and rideshare 
  • City Public Safety and Public Works personnel already programmed for College Beach Weekend 
  • City support of producer's request to the School Board for use of buses 
  • Availability of the Convention Center for use by producer

They’re asking Williams to create a festival:

  • Where young people will meet others who are pushing business and culture forward
  • Where they'll come to experience music, food, sports, technology, and most importantly, what's next. 
  • Where these bright young minds may find their first job out of college, or they will be inspired to start a company of their own

"In this case gave us passive advertising throughout the entire world about who we are defining us as Virginia Beach. Come to Virginia Beach and be welcome," Dyer said.

The city said in 2019, the event generated $21.7 million in the community and resulted in more than $1 million in tax revenue to the city.

The festival will run April 28-30 from 4th to 15th street along the Oceanfront.

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