Something In The Water Defined The Term, "Virginia Is For Lovers"
If I could use one word to describe the first annual Something In The Water Festival it would be, EPIC. The announcement was made last year that Pharrell Williams would be organizing an East Coast SXSW style festival series during College Weekend in his hometown of Virginia Beach, VA. The event immediately gained the attention of the media and was highly-anticipated, but little did any of us know how amazing the event would be. If you know anything about Virginia’s influence in the music industry and Mr. Williams contributions as well as many others, then you should know how important this event was to the state as a whole. I have been living in Richmond, Virginia since 2000, when I caught wind of the festival I knew I had to attend.
The three-day event started off a little shaky due to the threat of rain, which caused us to miss out on performances by Dave Matthews Band, Migos, and Diplo. However, the rest of the weekend went on without a hitch. Saturday’s line up was a great makeup for what was missed on the previous night. The day started with inklings that Jay-Z himself would be touching the stage. The atmosphere of the whole Virginia Beach strip was heightened throughout the day as that conversation came up with almost ever person I interacted with. The lineup for that day had standouts like Mac DeMarco, A$AP Ferg, Kaytranada, J. Balvin, SZA and Travis $cott who all gave amazing performances.
I must say that the highlight of the night for me had to be the capping Pharrell & Friends set. He held no punches when it came to calling in favors as we were blessed with the acts who subsequently came out. We got to see legends like Snoop Dogg, Charlie Wilson, Missy Elliott, Timbaland, Magoo, Famlay, Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Tyler, The Creator perform music they had created with Skateboard P, and then it happened.
As Pharrell began to go through his own music catalogue, the track “Frontin'” comes on. He ran through a couple tracks prior which he cut short, so I don’t think the crowd was absolutely sure Jay-Z was going to come out for his verse. As soon as it was time, here comes Jay-Z and the crowd goes into a complete frenzy! Honestly, I felt unworthy. I was overcome with emotion by seeing my favorite producer bring out my favorite emcee of all time. I lost my marbles (and my voice) by the time the God MC left the stage and I knew that I was apart of something special.
The next day was the last day of the festival, which was filled with mainly artists from Virginia. It was great to see Teddy Riley (the creator of the New Jack Swing movement circa early 90s), Pusha-T, Dram, and Chris Brown hit the stage to represent for the Commonwealth. I especially enjoyed the fact that Breezy brought Trey Songz out during his set as well. I mean it couldn’t get more Virginia than that.
All in all, I can say I left with a sense of pride for the state that I call home. It was nice to see a festival on the level of ones I’ve been to in other states. There was reported to be over 45k people there with no incidents whatsoever. The city of Virginia Beach has already approved a $250k grant for next years event, there is a petition for the Adidas basketball court to stay up all year long (already 10k+ signatures), and it’s been rumored that Pharrell has a 5-year contract for the festival. That is love, pride, and respect and makes the motto “Virginia is for lovers” mean so much more. I am excited to see what next year will bring to the Oceanfront. Remember it’s Two Up Two Down, thank you Pharrell.