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Pharrell Williams’s Something in the Water Music Festival Is Coming to DC

The three-day event, with acts like Tyler the Creator and Usher, will happen in June.

Pharrell Williams performing at Coachella in 2014. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user, Shawn Ahmed.

Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water Festival was cancelled for the past two years, but it’s back—and this time, it’s not in Virginia Beach. It’ll run from June 17 to June 19 on DC’s National Mall.

The rapper and record producer, who was born and raised in the coastal city, decided to relocate the music festival to the District after his cousin was shot and killed by a Virginia Beach police officer last year.

Williams shared his reasons for moving the festival in a letter to Virginia Beach city manager Patrick Duhaney. He wrote that the city has been “run by- and with toxic energy,” and that its leadership has focused more on the loss of the festival than on the death of his cousin. Still, the festival hasn’t turned its back on the city entirely: there will be shuttles available to transport patrons from Virginia Beach to DC and back ($50 one way, $95 round trip).

The three-day event boasts an exciting lineup  with nearly 70 hip hop, pop, and R&B artists. Grammy-nominated artists such as Chloe x Halle, Tyler the Creator, and Usher will perform alongside up-and-comers like Earthgang, Omar Apollo, and Baby Tate.

Despite the travel accommodations and impressive roster of musical acts, Virginians haven’t been too pleased with Williams’s decision. Some took it as a blow to Virginia Beach pride, and others seem to have forgotten that DC is, in fact, near water.

Three-day passes go on sale this Saturday, April 30 at 10 AM, and start at $299.50 (plus $50 in fees). General Admission passes include one wristband for entry, and access to activities and food and drink vendors.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.