Community meeting: Traffic, safety still major concerns in Pharrell-backed ‘Something in the Water’

A tentative map of the festival. (Southside Daily/courtesy of the city of Norfolk)
A tentative map of the ‘Something in the Water’ festival. (Southside Daily/courtesy of the city of Norfolk)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The “Something in the Water” festival is fast approaching and there are still numerous items that need to be ironed out, namely security and transportation.

The Pharrell Williams-backed music festival is set to take place from April 26 to April 28, over the weekend more commonly known as College Beach Weekend.

While officials have said the 2019 season is being dubbed “a transition year,” the city has been working with Williams’ team to make the festival happen smoothly.

RELATED STORY: City of Virginia Beach to pay $250K sponsorship to Pharrell-backed festival

RELATED STORY: Security for ‘Something in the Water’ remains murky

Monday night’s community meeting, “Logistics for Locals,” discussed the traffic and transportation impacts of the festival on the city.

Traffic

The biggest concern brought up by residents who attended the meeting was the massive amounts of traffic expected to come with the festival.

Williams’ team has set up several options for transportation to ease the traffic surrounding the festival’s footprint:

  • Regional shuttles from Festdrive
  • ‘Park n Ride’ shuttles at the Dam Neck Station Lot
  • HRT Wave trolleys that will run from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. the whole weekend

They are also encouraging ride sharing with companies such as Uber and Lyft as well as using local taxis.

However, representatives from Uber and Lyft said they are “not aware of any partnership” between the companies and the festival.

Williams’ team also emphasized walking, biking and personal carpooling.

Police Chief James Cervera mentioned the city will have the Waze Traffic App updated with traffic information and the police department, in cooperation with the fire department and EMS, will assist with traffic and crowd control.

Julie Hill, city spokeswoman, and Emily Ockenden from the Williams’ team, presented communications options available to the public:

There will also be a ‘Something in the Water’ app that will go live on April 9, Ockenden, said.

The city’s school board will officially vote on the use of the school buses for transportation.

RELATED STORY: More than 400 drivers signed up to run the buses for ‘Something in the Water’

Security will be handled jointly by the city’s police department and the 187 private security firms Williams’ team has hired, along with other law enforcement partners, officials said.

In addition to boots on the ground there will be a soft wristband check, 35 full-body scanners, bag checks and an RFID scanner for tickets, Ockenden said.

To keep up to date with the ‘Something in the Water’ festival visit the festival’s website.

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