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‘Something in the Water’

3/15/2019, 6 a.m.
Planning to attend “Something in the Water,” the three-day music festival in late April spearheaded by Pharrell Williams in Virginia ...

Planning to attend “Something in the Water,” the three-day music festival in late April spearheaded by Pharrell Williams in Virginia Beach?

According to the latest reports, the cheapest tickets are sold out, along with most of the hotel rooms on the oceanfront.

The event proves the drawing power of the talented and forward-thinking Mr. Williams, whose 2014 hit “Happy” was a seven-time platinum winner with more than 7 million copies sold in the United States alone.

“I don’t think we have seen an event sell out the market that fast ever before,” Russell Lyons, president of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association, told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper this week. “I am amazed.”

“Something in the Water,” which runs April 26 through 28, also is a testament to the economic buying power of the African-American community. Mr. Williams pitched the event to Virginia Beach city officials as providing organized events and professional development opportunities for students from HBCUs.

City officials said more than 32,000 tickets have been snapped up by fans since going on sale at noon Friday, March 8. The festival will feature Mr. Williams, a Virginia Beach native, and about 30 other high-octane performers, including Janelle Monáe, Teddy Riley, Missy Elliott, Travis Scott and the Dave Matthews Band.

Since the initial announcement, even more stars have been added to the lineup. Among them are Usher, Diddy, Gwen Stefani and Snoop Dogg. 

Three-day, early-bird admission passes were available first, starting at $150, with organizers saying single-day tickets possibly would be available later, depending on interest.

But the cheap tickets were all gone within an hour, officials said. By this week, the lowest priced tickets available were $195 three-day general admission passes, with an added $49.44 fee.

The 3-day VIP passes that started at $450 sold out earlier this week.

The festival, which takes place during College Beach Weekend in the resort city, is vying with other events for area hotel space that weekend, which is driving up room prices.

A religious women’s retreat planned for the Virginia Beach Convention Center and the International Tattoo Festival at the Norfolk Scope together are expected to draw thousands of people as well.

Rooms were going for more than $300 a night during the music festival, which is a lot more than the typical $220 to $240 per night during the peak summer season. 

Brad Van Dommelen, director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, told The Pilot the city has hosted large events, but nothing on the scale of “Something in the Water.”

It has been a long time since a Virginia regional event has created this much buzz and excitement, and we send wishes for Mr. Williams’ festival to be a fun, safe and profitable venture for all involved.

While Richmond doesn’t have an oceanfront to serve as a dramatic backdrop and drawing point for such an event, perhaps our local officials can take a few notes or even persuade Mr. Williams to visit Richmond and spark a vision for a potential blockbuster event here in the capital city.

Maybe we can find out what’s in the water to create a weekend hit for Richmond.

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