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Mayor urges Pharrell to bring SITW festival back to Virginia Beach: 'This is his home'

Mayor Bobby Dyer: 'It’s important that we as a city and me in particular, extend the olive branch to Pharrell'
Gates now open at Something in the Water Festival
Posted at 9:49 AM, Apr 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-17 09:56:48-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Something in the Water festival is back, just not in Hampton Roads.

The news dropped last weekend by rapper and Virginia Beach native Pusha-T. He’s a close friend of the music festival’s founder and fellow Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams.

Pusha-T recently appeared on Showtime’s Desus & Mero show announcing the music festival will be held in Washington, D.C.

Last year, Pharrell said he would not bring the event back to Virginia Beach after the shooting death of his cousin by a Virginia Beach police officer in March 2021.

Mayor Bobby Dyer said he plans to reach out to Pharrell soon to convince him to bring the festival back to his hometown.

“It’s important that we as a city and me in particular, extend the olive branch to Pharrell,” he said. “This is his home. We want him to be proud of his home. We want to feel welcomed and everybody he is associated with.”

Last year, Pharrell also described city leadership as ‘toxic.’

Despite the fallout, Dyer said he wants to show him how the city is moving in a positive direction.

“What happened in the past, we can fix that,” said Dyer. “We could really address that. I think this city has really rebounded. We’re working with the other mayors on youth crime and violence. We have our own task force going in the Beach. And, if anything proved this weekend at College [Beach] Weekend, is that we welcome everybody.”

Virginia Beach City Councilman Aaron Rouse, however, said that relationship with Pharrell should have been cultivated from the start, adding the city needs to be more inclusive.

“The festival was meant to bring together and celebrate the diversity in our community, and to bring people together,” said Rouse. “The fact we have lost the festival just shows how much more work we have to do.”

Something in the Water generated more than $24 million for Hampton Roads.

The city has taken an economic blow from the loss that festival along with The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon and other events.

Mayor Dyer, however, is staying hopeful. He said more festivals are coming to the Oceanfront, including the Jackalope Festival in June 2023.

“We are a city on the rise,” Dyer said. “Our future is bright. We’re going to be bringing in the jobs for the young people. We’re going to have absolutely no prob brining in main attractions in.”

WTKR reached out to Pharrell’s team and D.C.’s mayor for more details and to confirm the festival’s move and are waiting to hear back.

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