VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The long-awaited lineup for Pharrell Williams’ 2023 Something in the Water music festival has officially been announced.
The list includes everyone from rap legends Lil Wayne, Clipse and Wu-Tang Clan, to soul and disco icons Grace Jones and Chic, to folk and country stars Mumford & Sons and Maren Morris.
It’s almost a completely different mix of performers compared to the 2022 festival held in Washington, D.C., with the exception of rapper Lil Uzi Vert. Pusha T (a member of Clipse) and producer/DJ Kaytranada were at the original festival in 2019 at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
Like in the past, Pharrell’s Phriends have yet to be announced. Those are typically the biggest of superstars, from Jay-Z and Usher to Missy Elliott and Snoop Dogg. Expect more details on the special guests as we get closer to the festival, set for April 28-30.
Here’s the lineup that was released just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
This year’s festival also includes the return of the Pop Up Church service at the Oceanfront. The lineup for that event is expected to be announced soon. Pharrell also shared more details about other events for the community, including free events at Mount Trashmore ahead of the festival on April 14.
Here’s a deeper look into this year’s lineup:
- Clipse – Virginia Beach’s own Clipse, the rap duo of brothers Terrence “Pusha T” and Gene “No Malice” Thornton, is expected to be one of the biggest draws. The Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and fellow Virginia Beach native Chad Hugo) were a big influence on Clipse and helped them create hits such as “Grindin.” Pusha T said last year he and his brother were looking to release new music soon.
- Lil Wayne – The Louisiana rap icon and 5-time Grammy winner has multiple hits from “Lollipop” to “A Milli.” The now 40-year-old’s last album, “Funeral” was released in January 2020. It was his fifth album to hit No. 1 on the charts.
- Wu-Tang Clan – The New York hip hop legends with well-known tracks like “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Protect Ya Neck” are still touring, particularly overseas. They came to Virginia Beach last year with rapper Nas.
- Grace Jones – Jones has done everything from singing to modeling to acting in her illustrious career. The 74-year-old is best known for her contributions to the New York City disco and new wave scenes, with hits like “Private Life” and “Pull Up to the Bumper.”
- Nile Rodgers & Chic – Pharrell adds another mix of older music icons to educate the younger crowd. Nile Rodgers, a prolific guitarist who’s written or produced numerous classics from Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” to David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” is back with his ’70s soul/disco group Chic, best known for “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” You might also recognize Rodgers’ guitar on Pharrell and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
- Maren Morris – The Texas singer-songwriter is one of the biggest stars in country music with top songs like “My Church” and “The Bones.” She’s also ventured into more contemporary pop, most notably with the Zedd megahit “The Middle.”
- Mumford & Sons – Whether or not you’re a folk music fan, you’ve definitely heard singles “I Will Wait” or “Little Lion Man” somewhere before (probably at a Target). The English group led by Marcus Mumford has won two Grammy awards.
- Machine Gun Kelly – The 32-year-old whose real name is Colson Baker has perhaps made the most news recently with his relationship with actress Megan Fox. He’s best known for songs “My Ex’s Best Friend” and “Bloody Valentine.”
- Skrillex – The American DJ has had popular collaborations with numerous artists from Justin Bieber and Ellie Goulding to Rick Ross. He even has a song with Pusha T.
Other notable acts, up and coming artists
Other artists that stick off the page include rappers Kid Cudi (best known for “Day ‘n’ Nite“), 19-year-old Australian Kid Laroi (whose hit “Stay” feat. Justin Bieber went to No. 1 on the charts), Flo Milli, Washington, D.C. native Wale, Aminé, Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert.
Meanwhile Kehlani, Summer Walker, British girl group Flo and Jazmine Sullivan (best known for the 2008 “Bust Your Windows” will bring the vocals to the beach.
Like comedy? Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jay Pharoah, a Chesapeake native, is also scheduled to perform.
More on Something in the Water, related events
This year’s Something in the Water will be from April 28-30 from around 3rd Street to 15th Street at the Oceanfront. Local live event producer IMGoing will help Live Nation with the event.
There will be two “very large” primary stages at 3rd and 10th streets, and they will face each other, organizers said. There will also be the Sunday Pop-Up Church stage on the beach as well.
Event organizers have started selling 3-day, $50 shuttle passes that will take guests to and from the festival. The shuttles will go from the Virginia United Home Loans Amphitheater to the festival entrance and will run continuously throughout the day.
Free music options
For people without a ticket, or those just looking to see more local musicians, you can also go to 17th Street, 24th Street and 31st Street parks during the festival for free entertainment options. Pharrell says Social Supply, Team L.A.M.B & Where the Heart Is, and organizers of Norfolk’s R&B Block Party will “bring their individual brands of multi-genre entertainment” for all three days of the festival. These events are free and open to the public, and include local business and nonprofits.
There will also be more free live music with Virginia artists at an unaffiliated Something Indie Water festival that weekend at the FFX Theatre near the Something in the Water entrance near 16th Street.
A free April 14 event at Mount Trashmore will also have live music and food, and will highlight local small businesses and the city’s public libraries.
“A Seat At The Table,” on April 27 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. will celebrate Black arts and culture, with food trucks, live music and more to benefit the Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc. It will be hosted by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.
Pharrell will also have a series of events as part of his Black Ambition initiative, a nonprofit that works to support local underrepresented entrepreneurs. Events will include the So Ambitious Dinner, a mixer event with business leaders, and a Pull Up & Pitch competition in collaboration with Black Girl Ventures that will award more than $50,000 to local entrepreneurs.
City ramps up sponsorship of SITW
The resort city recently approved $2 million from the Tourist Investment Program fund to help sponsor the return of the festival.
Under the sponsorship agreement, the City of Virginia Beach would allow the festival organizers to keep all admissions, meals and the local portion of state sales taxes for all transactions that occurs on festival grounds. That equates to 10% of ticket sales, 5.5% of food and beverage and 1% for sales.