Pharrell Williams is bringing back the Something In The Water festival this coming June, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. But instead of holding the three-day event in its usual locale of Virginia Beach, he decided to take his show on the road and head up north this time around — to Washington D.C.
“SOMETHING IN THE WATER is a Black solution (LOVE) for a systemic issue, and this year we are taking our celebration to a higher platform – the nation’s Capital during Juneteenth Weekend,” the superproducer said in a statement. “We want to show the world that there is SOMETHING IN THE WATER across the whole DMV, and I want to continue to bring awareness to the greatness within these communities and invite large corporations to show up for the people.”
After successfully launching the festival three years ago in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Pharrell postponed it in 2020 and 2021 because of coronavirus. He did make a serious attempt at reviving it last year, but Pharrell’s 25-year-old cousin, Donovon Lynch, was killed in March after a confrontation with local police.
According to one particular outlet, the primary officer in question was not wearing a bodycam at the time, and the City of Virginia Beach said the officer resorted to deadly force only because Lynch also pointed a gun at him. (The officer, identified as Solomon D. Simmons III, is Black, too.)
In October, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer openly requested a “face-to-face meeting” with Pharrell to “get things back on track.” But the 49-year-old artist shut down any possibility of talks and began looking for somewhere else to host the festival soon afterwards.
“I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life,” Williams wrote in response. “I love my city, but for far too long it has been run by- and with toxic energy.”
Williams reportedly considered various cities around the U.S. before settling on “highest grounds, in my opinion, in this entire nation,” he said at yesterday’s press briefing. “And that is on our nation’s capital,” he added.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is looking forward to the “three days of excitement” Williams and his star-studded lineup will bring to her city. “If you’re celebrating music, if you’re celebrating Black excellence, if you’re drawing attention to the people who have dedicated their lives to knocking down barriers and uplifting our communities — then there is no better place to do that than in Washington, DC,” she said yesterday alongside Williams. “We are proud to be working with Pharrell to bring SOMETHING IN THE WATER to DC for Juneteenth weekend. DC is open and we are ready to celebrate.”
Ashanti & Ja Rule, Calvin Harris, Dave Matthews Band, Lil Baby, Run the Jewels, and Usher represent a small eclectic sample of performers expected to show up. And Go-go bands Backyard Band, Rare Essence, and Sound of the City will also be there to welcome SOMETHING IN THE WATER to their hometown.
“DC has always been a deep inspiration to me as a person and a musician,” Pharrell further added in his statement. “It is the land where Go- Go Music was birthed which has provided so much for our people. Our sponsors continue to go the extra mile to show that SOMETHING IN THE WATER is so much more than a festival. The goodwill we generate is a defining trait of who we are. We will always have the hottest artists, but to pair that energy with these brands showing up for the community is what makes this festival a vehicle for change.”
Ticketholders of the last two years’ cancelled shows can redeem their passes for this year’s festival as of now via the 2022 Loyalty Presale option. Virginia residents will be able to buy their tickets beginning Friday, April 29 from 10:00am ET, and then sale will be opened to the general public starting Saturday, April 30, 2022, at 10 am ET. The SOMETHING IN THE WATER festival will run from June 17-June 19, 2022. Learn more about it and how you can get your tickets by clicking here.