VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The anticipation is high for the next Something In The Water Festival.
Tuesday night, Virginia Beach city leaders heard from the public on what they believe the festival should look like.
Several residents showed up to Virginia Beach City Hall to voice their support and concerns with the SITW festival. It was a crowd of mixed emotions.
“Something In The water is our Disney," said one resident.
“I don’t want anybody else to become injured or if somebody does have an injury, I want to be addressed," said another resident, who claimed to be injured at the last Something In the Water Festival.
One resident wanted more answers on the financial side of the event.
“What are we paying for or is taxpayers footing the bill?"
Allison Stephens owns Anchor Allie's restaurants in the resort city. She asked the council to look into including more business owners in the festival.
“Maybe creating a vendor list of the small businesses in the area and giving these small businesses this great big opportunity to showcase themselves," said Stephens.
Another concern brought up was transportation and safety during the festival.
“I hope that planning will include several staging areas for transportation companies within walking distance of the event," said Trevor Hunter, the development manager for Coastal Ride taxi company.
Virginia Beach Hotel Association President John Zirkle said although the prices of hotel rooms may increase, the festival will benefit the community because of the number of tourists that may come to the area.
“They’re going to get to attractions. They’re going to spend money while they are here. Everything you spend gets taxed, so the tax revenue goes right back to the citizens of Virginia Beach," said Zirkle.
Entertainment was also at the top of some residents' minds.
Anthony Wills said he owns a management company, G-Man Management, for local entertainers. He said oftentimes, local talent gets overlooked during big festivals.
"And we want to provide a platform for them to get the exposure," said Wills.
City leaders said they will consider residents' comments when they plan to vote for a final contract on December 6.
City leaders have provided a contract proposal on their website listing the responsibilities of the city and the producer of the festival. If city leaders accept the contract, the festival will be held from April 28th- 30th and take place from 4th Street to 15th Street.