There Really Is Something In The Water
Last weekend’s Something In The Water festival was absolutely inspirational.
Thanks to Pharrell Williams, the city’s most problematical weekend of the year was transformed into the most memorable.
All of the credit goes to the Resort City’s favorite son who has deep affection for his hometown and has a vision for this place that’s breathtaking and inclusive.
Pharrell Williams may live in California. But his roots and his heart clearly reside in Virginia Beach.
For that, we should all be grateful.
Pharrell’s optimism is infectious. I’ve never seen so many happy people in one place. Make no mistake, this humble, hometown superstar set the tone.
Williams believes this can be a city that gives more than lip service to diversity.
You know what? He’s right.
Because of Pharrell tens of thousands of people poured into town last weekend to see some of the hottest artists in the music industry. Best of all, there were darn few problems.
Fewer than on a regular summer Saturday night, the mayor told me Sunday.
Traffic moved more smoothly than anticipated. The crowd was enthusiastic. Heck, I was there when Pharrell praised the Virginia Beach police department and the crowd roared its approval. Who expected that? And the school buses, which a number of naysayers tried to ground for the weekend - they’re only for the children - provided quick, safe and easy access to oceanfront.
By all accounts the chronically underpaid and under-appreciated drivers - who were able to earn some overtime - were delighted with their well-behaved passengers. (Must have been a nice change from their usual cargo of misbehaving kids.)
Beyond that, Pharrell seemed to be everywhere, constantly cheerleading for Virginia Beach: Cutting a ribbon on a garden at Seatack Elementary. Hanging out at his alma mater, Princess Anne High School. Giving an upbeat interview to CBS’ Gayle King, which turned out to be the finest promotion Virginia Beach has gotten in years. (So much better than that dud of a campaign, “Go Beachless.”)
Sunday’s Pop-Up Church gave festival goers some fabulous gospel music, inspired preaching and a chance to praise the Lord as nature intended, on the beach and in the sunshine.
It was more than just a hugely successful music festival. Something In The Water showed that Virginia Beach can be a superb city. A place where people of all races can come together and have fun with the surf and the sand as a magnificent backdrop.
This year’s festival was planned in only seven months, making its success astonishing. Next year will be bigger and better. Count on it. Lots of locals who stayed away this year won’t miss the action in 2020.
Everyone in town owes a big thank you to Pharrell, for loving Virginia Beach.