Pharrell Williams pitches arts, food festival in Virginia Beach

Pharrell Williams (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pexels)
Pharrell Williams (Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pexels)

Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams says he’s trying to assemble a yearly festival in his hometown of Virginia Beach that coincides with the annual trek of students from historically black colleges to the area.

Williams said he pitched the food, music and art festival idea he calls “Something in the Water” to Virginia Beach council members and resort leaders Friday. He spoke with local media outlets at the Norfolk airport.

The 45-year-old “Happy” singer says the festival would occur at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in late April at the same time as the College Beach Weekend.

The college event has been marred by recent violence, and some say another organized gathering could discourage that problem.

Williams is also a partner in a Virginia Beach surf park and 3,500-seat entertainment center venture.

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John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.