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Virginia Beach plans for return of Something in the Water in 2024, with some adjustments

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 Virginia Beach plans for return of Something in the Water in 2024, with some adjustments

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VIRGINIA BEACH — Plans are underway for next year’s Something in the Water festival even though a date hasn’t been set yet, and some changes will likely be made based on feedback from business owners and residents, according to city officials. “We’ve already had a planning meeting recognizing what went well this year and what we can do better,” Assistant Resort Administrator Bill Kelly told members of the Resort Advisory Commission last week. World-renowned star and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams previously announced on social media that he wants to move next year’s festival to another weekend after weather impacted the event at the end of April.

The third day of the festival was canceled due to rain and the start of the first day was delayed. “Next year we will shift the dates because this rain ain’t playing, but we will be! Next year, more acts, more merch, more food … just more!” Williams wrote in a post April 30. The first Something in the Water festival in 2019 and this year’s event were held in Virginia Beach in late April to correspond with College Beach Weekend, when students from historically Black colleges and universities come to the Oceanfront to relax and party before exams.

The city originally asked Williams to help provide a structured event for visitors during that weekend. While the date is still being finalized, city staff recently held a planning meeting. One of the concerns discussed from this year’s event was the way the perimeter fence lines were laid out, Kelly said. Fourteen blocks of the south end of the Boardwalk and beach were closed to non-ticket holders during the festival this year. “We recognize it’s a necessity to have security, but that was a lot,” Kelly said.

“How can we do it better and not impact the businesses that are in that zone?” Virginia Beach City Council members are anxiously awaiting a festival report analyzing the return on investment for Something in the Water and other events the city sponsored this year. Some Oceanfront merchants didn’t experience a strong financial return from Something in the Water, according to observations from the Resort Advisory Commission, which were submitted to the City Council last month. Commissioners also concurred that fencing along the festival perimeter hindered movement around the resort area, and they didn’t see the need for extensive fencing around the public parks where free festival-related events were held. The commissioners also observed that limited reentry into the event held festivalgoers back from patronizing other parts of the Oceanfront. “The intent of having these events is to drive more business down there, so city staff is already working on those discussions internally,” Kelly said. Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125,

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