Pharrell Williams Announces the Return of ‘Something in the Water’ Festival, Moving from Virginia Beach to Washington, D.C. Following the Death of His Cousin

After a two-year hiatus, music mogul and heralded Hip-Hop producer Pharrell Williams is bringing back his “Something in the Water” music festival, moving it from its original location in Virginia Beach and setting up shop in the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C., on Juneteenth weekend, from June 17 to 19. 

The artist’s team made the announcement on social media, stating its return and when fans can get their tickets to a show that promises music for everyone.

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 25: Pharrell Williams attends the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2022 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 25, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Featured artists include Usher, Chloe x Halle, Ashe, Calvin Harris, 6LACK, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Bia, Lil Uzi Vert, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Jon Batiste, Moneybagg Yo, Tyler, the Creator, and “some people we can’t announce yet.”

The change of location was to be expected. The “I Am Other” industry executive said he would move the festival from the area after a member of local law enforcement fatally shot his cousin, Donovan Lynch on March 26, 2021.

Police alleged Lynch flashed his firearm at them before the officer shot him, WAVY 10. His relatives say it would have been out of his character to brandish his gun, one they noted Lynch was legally licensed to carry. The family further took issue with there being no body camera footage of the incident because none of the officers involved, not the cop that shot him nor the plainclothes detective who responded later, had their devices activated. To add further insult to injury, no one was ever criminally charged with Lynch’s death.

In a letter to the city executive of Virginia Beach, Williams shared how much he loves the people and the city.

He reminded Virginia Beach City Manager Patrick Duhaney about the original goals of the festival: to ease racial tension and to promote economic development opportunities.

The “Happy” chart-topper wrote, “I wish the same energy I’ve felt from Virginia Beach leadership upon losing the festival would have been similarly channeled following the loss of my relative’s life.”

“The toxic energy that changed the narrative several times around the homicide of my cousin, Donovan Lynch, a citizen of Virginia, is the same toxic energy that changed the narrative around the mass murder and senseless loss of life at Building Number 2.”

He ended his note by saying, “Until the gatekeepers and the powers-that-be consider the citizens and the consumer base, and no longer view the idea of human rights for all as a controversial idea …. I don’t have any problems with the city, but I realize the city hasn’t valued my proposed solutions, either.” 

This does not mean there will not be “Something in the Water” perks given to Virginia natives.

Those who live in Old Dominion will have special access to a “Virginia Locals Only” presale on Friday, April 29, starting at 10 a.m. 

These residents will be able to purchase festival passes in person at the Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at the Virginia Beach box office, (restricted to Virginia ZIP codes). Another perk is that the fees are waived if people come through to make their purchase in person.

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