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Going to Something in the Water? What you should know

A brightly colored flag with sea creatures reads "SOMETHING IN THE WATER"
Craig McClure
Courtesy of City of Virginia Beach
Something in the Water in 2019 was considered a widespread success, and Virginia Beach leaders are using many of the same logistical methods for the festival’s return.

Read the original story of WHRO's website.

Pharrell Williams' Something in the Water festival returns to Virginia Beach's Oceanfront neighborhood this weekend for three days of top musical acts.

Can I still get tickets?

Sure can, but it’s going to cost!

There aren’t any VIP passes left, so you’ll be buying general admission, which means you won’t get as close to the stage and will have longer lines for things like the bathroom and water.

Your other option is a Yellow Zone pass, which gives you VIP perks as well as a special viewing area with unobstructed views and a bar, an exclusive lounge at Waterman’s and Team Yellow merch. Team Yellow is Pharrell’s education nonprofit that opened a small private school last year in Norfolk.

The catch: A Yellow Zone pass is $2,000. Fourteen-hundred of that is tax deductible, though, because those special passes help fund the nonprofit.

How do I get there?

The festival entrance is between 12th and 14th streets, but there's a number of street closures to be aware of in the days leading up to and during the festival:

  • Beginning early Wednesday, Atlantic Avenue southbound will be closed from 5th Street. If you want to drive north on Atlantic, plan for traffic jams.
  • Atlantic Avenue from 5th to 17th streets will be closed to vehicles starting Friday, April 28 at 10 a.m. through Sunday, April 30.
  • Atlantic Avenue north of 17th Street will be open as normal, but may also have heavy traffic.
  • There will be heavy congestion on Pacific Avenue throughout the weekend, but it will be open. Watch out for the shuttles, which will be using Pacific for drop-off and pick-up.
  • Atlantic Avenue will close each night of the festival at 9 p.m. to more smoothly get people home.
  • All roads will reopen around 2 a.m.
  • If you need to get to Winston-Salem Avenue or into the Shadowlawn neighborhood, take Norfolk Avenue, or 9th Street — depending on whether you're heading east or west — to avoid shuttles.
  • Parks Avenue, where the interstate ends, often closes during busy weekends. The city has no plans to close the road.

I want to drive myself.

The city knows there will be limited to no parking at the normal Oceanfront lots. You can try your luck, but officials suggest using alternative methods to get to the area.

If you’re taking your chances on the city lots, come early and prepare to pay special event pricing ($20 at city-owned lots).

Metered parking will have limited availability around the festival boundaries, but beware of time limits and keeping the meters fed (the VBgo mobile app can process payments and help you find open spots).

I don't want to drive, but I'm not close enough to walk. What are my options?

Something in the Water organizers are once again running shuttle buses from the Virginia Beach amphitheater to cut down on incoming traffic.

Shuttle passes for the entire weekend were available to add to your pass when you bought it, but you can still get a $50 shuttle pass if you want one.

The shuttle will begin at noon each day of the festival and run continuously. The buses will drop riders off at 12th and Pacific, near the festival entrance.

The last shuttle will leave the Oceanfront 90 minutes after the music ends each night.

Rideshare is encouraged too. There will be designated space near the Convention Center at 19th Street for pickup and dropoff.

Hampton Roads Transit won’t be running any special routes for the festival.

I want to do anything that doesn't involve a vehicle in summer festival traffic. What can I do?

A good number of attendees are staying in hotels or short-term rentals within walking distance to the Oceanfront. If you are, walking or riding a bike may be a good option.

You can lock up bikes at 16th and the Boardwalk. Remember the bike paths are the only place bikes are allowed.

E-scooters can be left in normal spots.

And regardless of his personal feelings on them — skateboards aren’t allowed in Pharrell’s festival, so they’ll have to be left at home or kept outside the official festival grounds.

A mural on a wall reads "FEELS"
Craig McClure
Courtesy of city of Virginia Beach
Something in the Water can be experienced from all over the Oceanfront as community groups hold special events outside of the official festival footprint.

I need to bring a bunch of stuff. Is there somewhere I can put it?

First, make sure you’re allowed to bring it. There’s an extensive list of things you can and can’t bring onto festival grounds (though it’s not significantly different than most music events).

Something to remember: although you can bring a water bottle, it needs to be under 32 fluid ounces and empty.

There will be lockers available to rent ahead of time, complete with one outlet each to charge devices.

It’s $65 for a three-day locker pass and you’ll be able to access your stuff at any time.

You’re in. Your bags have been checked, water refilled and you have 6 hours before Lil Uzi Vert gets onstage. What do you do?

We don’t actually know when Lil Uzi Vert, or any of the artists, will take the stage — but if Pharrell planned the festival following 2019’s blueprint, there will be other activities to keep you busy in between your must-see artists.

Vendors, art installations and other small music showcases will be set up around the footprint of the festival.

Since re-entry is allowed, you can check those things out in between the artists you want to see.

Special events are likely to be part of the weekend too; festival organizers already confirmed the beachside pop-up church service on Sunday will be back.

If you came just for the music, here's what we know:

  • The city’s setting up the official entrance at 12th Street and blocking off the southern end of the beach days before the official first day — a sign that they’re following their normal summer concert format of having a large stage on the sand around 5th Street.
  • If Pharrell follows 2019’s format, his headlining “Pharrell's Phriends” set will be more than an hour of Saturday night’s lineup — and you can expect his most famous friends, like Jay-Z, who showed up in 2019, and Justin Timberlake, who made a surprise appearance at the 2022 festival in Washington, D.C.
  • Stages at 17th, 24th and 31st streets will all be open, with local vendors set up.

What do I wear? I have no experience with Virginia weather.

For locals, we’re close enough to home and have the experience to know there’s no foolproof way to plan three days of outfits around the weather.

But if you’re traveling, you might be wringing your hands trying to fit your whole wardrobe in a weekend bag — just in case.

Normally, said meteorologist Jeff Orrock, April temperatures stay in the 50s and reach up to the 70s.

“April is our transitional month, so it can be summer-like or it can be pretty cool,” he said.

In 2019, the first night of the festival was canceled because of bad weather. The rest of the weekend carried on, with only a light rain wrapping up the festival on Sunday.

Festival-goers might also want to prepare for rain and cold winds coming off the water.

“Days where we have a southwest to west wind, it's going to be warm and the wind's coming off land. … Coming out of the northeast to southeast, that's a whole different deal," he said.

“It’s like standing in front of a refrigerator with a fan blowing on you. It's going to blow that cool air right off the water.”

The bottom line: It’s hard to know what Virginia weather is going to do in late April.

Orrock said the forecast will be pretty accurate by the Wednesday before, so people traveling should check that day before making their final outfit decisions. Orrock also said if he was planning what clothes to bring, he’d plan for a “little bit of everything”: Layers, like light jackets, stick with pants and keep a poncho handy in case of spring showers.

Or you could even take a page from Pharrell’s book and rock his signature hoodie-shorts combo.

Multiple children stand around a person who cuts a ceremonial ribbon
Craig McClure
Courtesy of City of Virginia Beach
In the days leading up to Something in the Water 2019, Pharrell Williams presented and was honored at Beach schools and held events for local politicians and other leaders.

I live or work at the Oceanfront. Am I going to be able to get home or to work?

If you live north of 17th Street, you don’t have to have any major worries about getting in and out. Plan for heavy traffic, more people and limited on-street parking, but there shouldn’t be major barriers to getting home or to work.

If you live or work south of 17th Street, you should have or be getting a special pass that allows you to travel in your car to your home or business. This will come from the Virginia Beach Resort Management Office, who should be working with businesses and property owners on any parking concerns as well.

If you don’t live here, but own property and are planning on staying at your Virginia Beach home this weekend, you will have to reach out to your association manager to get a pass.

If you haven’t received a pass by April 17, email [email protected].

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