Expect traffic as Lil Wayne, Pharrell’s Phriends hit the stages – Daily Press
Another round of star acts including Lil Wayne, Machine Gun Kelly, the Jonas Brothers and Pharrell’s Phriends are slated to take the stage Saturday on the second day of Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water music festival.
And this time, the sun is making an extended appearance.
After rain and wind delayed Friday’s opening by about five hours, concertgoers are enjoying dry, spring conditions Saturday.
The lineup is stacked again, but much of the talk will be about just who is in Pharrell’s Phriends — a mystery group of musicians taking the Solar Stage at 10:30 p.m. A$AP Rocky, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul and M.I.A. are some of the names that have been reported, and past rosters have included the likes of Jay-Z and Diddy.
Comedian Jay Pharoah, a Chesapeake native, will emcee between music sets on the Solar Stage.
Organizers have said they expect roughly 50,000 people to attend the three-day festival.
Here are scenes from the day.
Want to watch Something in the Water live? The festival can be viewed on YouTube here.
After saxophonist Kamasi Washington and vocalist Ami Taf Ra watched all the movies they could handle during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, they turned to books.
They picked up “The Prophet,” the most famous work by Lebanese-American writer and artist Kahlil Gibran. Then they kept going, reading his “The Madman,” which fit strangely well with quarantine life.
“It felt like it was written for our times,” Washington said.
That book inspired Ra’s second album, “The Prophet and the Madman” with Grammy-and Emmy-nominated Washington as producer – the first time he has produced work for another artist.
Ra performed music from the album, which will be released next year, during Washington’s set at Something in the Water Saturday afternoon.
Ra grew up in Morocco and Amsterdam. Her long list of influences includes Moroccan gnawa music, jazz, Middle-Eastern classical funk, rock and R&B. In some ways, her music career started when her mother gave her an album by Fairuz, who sometimes called “the soul of Lebanon.”
“It was my first time being introduced to that kind of music,” Ra said backstage after the performance. “I was coming from two worlds, so hearing that in music meant a lot.”
Though Washington has made his name as a jazz artist, and Ra’s album could be described as world jazz, those words don’t define music for the pair. There are clear influences from the music of the 1960s and ‘70s, from the Beatles to Curtis Mayfield, but also from culture, as Washington put it, that’s hundreds of years old.
The “good energy” at Something on the Water made it the perfect place to feature Ra, Washington said. It was also the first time Ra has performed on a beach, an atmosphere she loves, she said, adding that walking out on stage with the ocean to her right and open air all around was inspiring.
“That was a beautiful moment for me,” she said.
The crowd sang along with Jonas Brothers’ “Cake by the Ocean” and other fan favorites at the Solar stage followed by emcee Jay Pharoah of Chesapeake pumping up the crowd before the next set with humor.
“We’re going to keep this going!” Pharoah said. Lil Yachty’s up next.
The city of Virginia Beach tweeted a parking advisory stating that the resort area is seeing heavy traffic and has limited parking; the tweet suggests that drivers use the Waze app for up-to-date information.
Crowds at the Oceanfront are likely growing because of the star power scheduled for the evening lineup, which includes The Kid Laroi, the Jonas Brothers, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Wayne, and none other than Pharrell Williams and his “Phriends.”
Festival organizers announced that the Solar Stage was experiencing technical difficulties, putting performances on pause.
In between listening to the performers, fans stood in line for Walmart’s Makers Studio, celebrating Black creators inside the festival grounds.
Makeup artists offered free festival makeovers and people decorated trucker or bucket hats with festival bling.
At the Walmart Shop on the beach, Cow Tales candy were popular, $1.35 each.
As people bought festival merchandise, they needed larger bags. So clear backpacks were another big seller, said Jovon Thompson, who was working the register.
In 2019, Ricky Hopkins had no idea the Facebook group “Something in the Water Cousins” would still be around years later. But even through the pandemic and the festival’s move to Washington, D.C., last year, the group grew and grew.
Today, it boasts about 11,000 members.
[ Related: There are cousins. Then there are ‘SITW Cousins’: This Facebook group helps attendees navigate the festival ]
Hopkins’ day job is working as assistant director of admissions at Norfolk State University. But he also works as an admin and runs the social media for the FB group.
“We wanted to be able to provide a birds-eye view to the community,” he said. “I never really thought anybody was watching, I’m just doing it for the love.”
Billionaire Boys Club, the clothing line Pharrell started two decades years ago, is giving away 300 pieces of free merchandise to anyone who can stick it out in line. The giveaway is in honor of the brand’s 20th anniversary.
“The lines have been insane,” said Lundon Lafci, marketing coordinator for the brand.
The lucky few entered the tent two by two to select a T-shirt, water bottle, or towel — supplies permitting — in front of a massive screen displaying a 3D rendering of the company’s website.
Khristian Washington, whose mother works for the brand, volunteered to help hand out the merch.
The best part was getting to talk to all the festival guests and see where they came from, the Virginia Beach resident said.
”It’s really helping out the Virginia Beach economy, and it’s just a vibe,” she said.
Kevin Vicente and Riley Quinn, both in the Navy, met in A School — which is continued training for sailors after boot camp. But now they’re posted in different places.
Quinn got home from deployment last week and Vicente surprised her with tickets.
Decked in a bright yellow shirt, Justin Brown is in town from New York visiting friends. While they stand in line at a merchandise tent, the healthcare finance professional is hanging out by an upside-down sign that reads, “Blessings look like lessons from far away.”
Brown didn’t know yellow was Pharrell’s color, but his shirt was made a year ago in honor of of a friend with cancer — who is in remission. He called the coincidence a lucky accident.
His favorite show so far has been Skrillex’s Friday night performance.
As for the nearby sign, it’s upside-down so that its message is displayed in the sand.
The gates are now open, and concertgoers are hitting the sand. Many went straight to the merchandise tent.
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Gates were scheduled to open at noon Saturday, but at 12:11 p.m. organizers tweeted the festival was experiencing a delay from overnight weather impacts. They said they were working quickly to resolve the issue.
The Pull Up and Pitch competition is underway.
The contest gives anyone off the street the chance to pitch their business idea, and the grand prize winner will take home $50,000. Others can win up to $10,000 or $250 on the spot.
Damien Bell, son of founder Omi Bell, greeted contestants and spectators at the gate. The family-owned, D.C.-based organization launched in 2016 to take the speed-networking idea up a step to speed venture capital.
Charity Pritchett of Emblem Olive Oil just won $250, but she’s ready for bigger things.
“This is a billion-dollar brand!” she said with a grin.