VIRGINIA BEACH - Next Friday, more than 35,000 ticket holders will descend on the Oceanfront ready to see their favorite acts hit the stage at the inaugural Something In the Water music festival.
That same number will be back on Saturday. Sunday, too. The festival website says the venue opens at 2 p.m. April 26, and noon on April 27 and 28. But when will each of the more than 30 acts perform? We still don't know.
People have wondered how all those acts, at least nine each day, can fill on one stage in a limited time. On Friday, the festival gates open at 2 p.m., which means by 3 p.m. the first act should start. If performances have to stop at 11 p.m., that's eight hours of playing time. On Saturday and Sunday gates open at noon, freeing up one or two more hours for music.
If everyone gets the same amount of stage time, sets would average about 30 minutes. But won't bigger names get more time?
The schedule released by organizers so far shows only what day the artists will perform. We have checked the lists and made a best guess at what the top acts will be each night.
Friday's lineup is Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, Masego, Diplo, Janelle Monáe, Dave Matthews Band, Radiant Children, Maggie Rogers and Pharrell and friends, which includes Gwen Stefani, N.E.R.D, Usher, Missy Elliott, Timbaland and Fam-lay.
Who will the big three be to close out the festival's first night? Our best bet has Monáe and Dave Matthews Band — the Charlottesville-based Grammy award winner — leading in to the closing act, which is likely to be Pharrell and friends. Given that more than half of the friends group are local to the Hampton Roads region — Williams and his band N.E.R.D, Elliott, Timbaland and Fam-Lay — it seems like an obvious slam dunk to wrap up the first night of festival fun.
Saturday is without question the hip-hop heavy day. Attendees will see 14 different performers: Amber Mark, Ferg, Kaytranada, J Balvin, Rosalia, Virgil Abloh (a fashion designer who seems to be trading clothing for DJing at the festival), John-Robert, Mac DeMarco, SZA, Pharrell and friends and Travis Scott.
How will this be possible? At least four of these acts don't use full backing bands, Ferg, Kaytranada, Abloh and John-Robert, so they won't need much setup time.
We're hoping we see Rosalia and J Balvin share a few minutes in the spotlight. The singers recently released a single, "Con Altura" and linked up on the Coachella stage to perform the song live for fans.
We're picking John-Robert and Virgil Abloh to kick off the day and Travis Scott to close it out. Scott's "Astroworld," released in August, was a Grammy nominee for Best Rap Album and made the top 10 best rap albums on nine year-end lists. Maybe Pharrell and his friends Diddy, Snoop Dogg and Busta Rhymes will light the crowd up before Scott takes the stage and launches into the album's top-performing single, "Sicko Mode."
And that leaves Sunday, which has Pusha T, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Jhené Aiko, D.R.A.M., Chris Brown, Charlie Wilson, Kap G., Teddy Riley and Friends, and Leikeli47. We're guessing Charlie Wilson will help set the Sunday vibes off right with a post-church, R&B groove. We're going with Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals, Chris Brown and Pusha T rounding out the last day of the festival.
Why King Push? He's from the city and has close ties to the beach. Last year, he married Virginia Williams just a few miles up the boardwalk at the Cavalier Hotel. Afterward, he'll head over to Elevation 27 in the Hilltop section of Virginia Beach to host an after party. If you didn't get tickets to the festival but want to see him in his stomping grounds with local rapper Young Money Yawn, grab tickets online at elevation.com for the 10 p.m.-to-3 a.m. show.
You can even get on their level with table packages, but it's going to cost you. You can reserve VIP tables, complete with bottle service, starting at $1,000 and maxing out $2,500.
Speaking of after parties, Elevation 27 has scheduled one for Friday night, 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., with Christian Combs and "very special guests" and one for Saturday night, 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., with D.R.A.M. alongside Fam-Lay and with DJ Camo and Gabe Niles.
Does this account for every performer you can expect to see? Maybe. There are some rumors out there, and they're hefty.
Many fans are convinced Kanye West will have something to do with Sunday's Pop-Up Church Service. For months, he has led a Sunday service at unknown locations in the desert featuring full bands and gospel choirs. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — a music festival in California — will host and stream West's Sunday service this Easter Sunday.
Given the festival's already jam-packed pop-up church service lineup, it's unlikely Ye will show up at the beach. But this is one rumor that just won't quit.
There are whispers that Justin Timberlake could show up, which is a bit more believable. Timberlake has worked with a number of the artists already on the lineup, including Williams, Elliott, Teddy Riley and Timbaland, who co-wrote and produced Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveSounds." He's appearing at a celebrity golf tournament in Missouri on Saturday and Sunday, but it looks like his schedule isn't booked up for Friday. Slim chances, but fans can dream, right?
Now for the whopper that is just too good to be true: Beyoncé and Jay-Z. There are a few local organizations, including the 757vaconnectapp, who are sharing this "secret" on social media. Jay-Z has a show in Brooklyn on Friday night, but other than that, the couple's schedule seems to be clear for Saturday and Sunday. Like Timberlake, they've worked with many of the performers.
Earlier this week, Beyoncé surprised fans with the release of "Homecoming," a 137-minute documentary following her practice and her diet leading up to her performance at last year's Coachella festival. She headlined the festival on its opening night and her performance was immediately met with critical praise. She also released a live album in conjunction with the documentary's release.
Could they make an appearance? Organizers won't answer questions about the pair. You'll just have to wait until next week.