Something in the Water puts VB on the map

Jill Grinnell

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By Jill Grinnell

I wish I could relive every moment of Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water music festival. From seeing famous artists like SZA and Travis Scott perform on a stage built on the beach at 5th Street two weeks ago, to getting stuck in the mosh pit, my experience at the very first “Something in the Water” was unmatched.

The weekend was off to a rough start when the three-day turned two-day music festival cancelled all of Friday’s performances due to severe weather conditions. I was really disappointed because Lil Uzi, Migos, and allegedly Beyoncé were scheduled to perform that night, and none of the artists made any appearances throughout the rest of the weekend.

Saturday was a long, event-packed day, and the Pharrell and Friends final performance at the end of the night made up for the loss of all of Friday’s performers.

The festival started at noon, but people had been waiting in a line that stretched past the boardwalk and wrapped around the hotels for almost two hours. Standing in the line, I saw people of different races, ages, and personalities, and the spirit of inclusiveness added to the positivity because of such a diverse group of people at the festival.

Although the festival mainly centered around rap and R&B artists, Pharrell still included various artists like Rosalia, who brought a taste of Barcelona to the beach, and Mac Demarco, who put the crowd in a trance with his indie-alternative sound.

The most popular sets Saturday night were Jay-Z, Missy Elliot, and the legend himself, Pharrell. I’m still in shock that Pharrell was able to bring such renowned and honored celebrities to perform at the festival. The loud cheers of excitement from the crowd as Jay-Z walked on stage and started to sing with Pharrell is a memory I will never forget. It felt like everyone was united through a shared love through music, which was Pharrell’s goal for the community centered event.

He successfully created an event that demonstrated what our area is capable of when the 757 cities cooperate in the spirit of togetherness, focusing on our shared interests rather than our differences.

There were neither any acts of violence nor any arrests during the weekend, which was a pleasant surprise  considering it was also College Beach Weekend which has sometimes had unfortunate incidents that caught a lot of media attention.

Pharrell changed the atmosphere at the oceanfront by also allowing the public to attend events like art shows, original movie screenings, and the Pop-Up Church on Sunday, which was actually one of my favorite parts of the weekend. I was standing among thousands of people who were listening to the sermon and singing along to the praise and worship music, and I really felt the sense of community Pharrell was trying to achieve.

The Something in the Water music festival made me feel the proudest I have ever been to be from Virginia Beach, and I am so grateful to say that I was a part of the very first one.