City council releases new information, Something in the Water

Spencer Davidson
COUNCILMAN AARON ROUSE delivers his position on the vote for the city sponsor Something in the Water 2020. Confusion as to what was being paid, and how much would be earned led to a tabled vote until the next meeting.

As the second annual Something in the Water festival approaches, more news has trickled out to include various venues, learning days throughout the week and the plethora of artists who plan to attend this now “epic” event. 

The festival is scheduled to take place Monday, April 20 – Sunday, April 26, and this year’s event is a bit different than last year’s as it will now encompass  an entire week of programming from some of the top speakers in the country, as well as a weekend of music, beginning on Friday night that will showcase  some of the biggest stars in the world.

And again, the city and its residents can thank our own megastar Pharrell Williams.

Executive Director for Something in the Water Robby Wells delivered two briefings during the first week in March.  The first briefing was to city council and the other briefing was given to the  general public. 

“For 2020 its about getting one degree closer to the vision,” Wells said.

And, to get closer to the vision Williams presented to his team, the festival has been expanded to seven days with a focus on more than just music. Special programming during the week of the festival was revealed; each day’s theme different from the day before.

Monday: “Earth and Us Day”will feature discussions of the environment and mental health, with presenters Taraji P. Henson, Timbaland and Philippe Cousteau.

Tuesday: “Innovation and Tech Day” will feature discussions from NASA, with a special pitch competition, and presentations from Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Tony Hawk, with more to be announced.

Wednesday: “Women’s Day” has planned discussions about jobs and fashion, and with undisclosed Virginia Olympians presenting.

Thursday: “Food and Wine Day” will expand into the Oceanfront’s ‘Vibe District’ with tastings from local restaurants and a performance from an undisclosed stand-up comedian.

Friday: “Career Day” with include a discussion from Owner of Interscope Records Jimmy Iovine, , as well as a job fair for those interested in seeking employment in the music industry.

Other information that “teased” the audience was the upcoming announcement of 20 more artists to the music festival lineup, a big development for those already excited by the original lineup announced in December.

“I don’t think we should lose sight of the impact of this festival on the community and the City Of Virginia Beach,” City Councilman Michael Berlucchi said.  

During the Community Discussion at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, Wells recapped the speech he gave at the council meeting; then joined onstage by a panel of experts involved in the production of the festival including: Executive director Jenna Hirsch, President of Redrock Entertainment Ford Englerth, Assistant To The City Manager Brian Solis and Deputy Emergency Services Director Erin Sutton. The panel of speakers gave an overview of the newly released festival map, traffic logistics, and health concerns related to the festival.

Some concerns were addressed during the Community Discussion with help from Councilman Aaron Rouse. One of the questions posed was whether or not cell connection would improve on the beach this year. The response was the announcement of the continued partnership with Verizon, who are placing three cell towers along the beach to improve connectivity.

“This is unlike anything else the city has ever seen before,” Councilman Guy Tower said.

Clearly anticipation is high, with a little over a month left before the festival, all that’s left is to wait and see what develops next.

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