Music

Pharrell Pulls His Festival Something in the Water from Virginia Beach, Citing “Toxic Energy”

Pharrell Pulls His Festival Something in the Water from Virginia Beach, Citing “Toxic Energy”

He’s been demanding accountability from local government since local police killed his cousin in March

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams, November 2019 (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Pharrell Williams has announced that his Something in the Water festival will not return to his home town of Virginia Beach in 2022, which he shared in a letter to city manager Patrick Duhaney published today (October 6). In the letter, Williams cited a “toxic energy” in local government, pointing to the March death of his 25-year-old cousin Donovon Lynch. A Virginia Beach police officer, whose body camera was not on, shot and killed Lynch under disputed circumstances.

In the wake of Lynch’s death, Williams has spoken out repeatedly about the city’s failures to adequately address questions about the shooting. He cited Something in the Water, which was last held in 2019, as a significant force in helping build community and bringing more economic activity to Virginia Beach. His latest letter was a response to one from Duhaney in late September, according to local outlet WAVY. City officials expressed disappointment in the outcome.

“The manager and I want to connect with Pharrell, sit down talk things out and that’s what we’re going to take. We are going to try to be positive about this and we are going to try to make a case that, you know, we are moving forward,” Virginia Beach mayor Bobby Dyer told WAVY. 

Williams has not revealed further details about the future of Something in the Water in the short or long term. 

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