Virginia Beach City Council votes in favor of new music festival

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In a 7-4 vote, the City Council decided to set aside $750,000 and execute a sponsorship agreement with Audacy with an amendment on the festival’s location.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach City Council is moving closer to establishing a new music festival featuring pop and rock artists. 

Tuesday night, council members voted in approval of an ordinance to set aside $750,000 and execute a sponsorship agreement with the media company Audacy. The money is coming from the Tourism Investment Program Fund.

Despite the approval, the 7-4 vote didn’t come without some debate. While many speakers were supportive of the plan, several others raised concerns over the timing and location of the festival. 

The proposed weekend, October 20 to 21, falls on the same weekend as the annual Virginia MOCA Boardwalk Art Show, which runs through October 22. The proposed location, the 31st Street Beach area, also overlaps with the art show. Artists will also be setting up on the boardwalk from 24th Street to 35th Street.

A few of the concerns regarded safety and logistical issues with the overlap, such as parking for two major events and the security of artists’ work. Some council members were also hesitant about rushing into planning. 

“I’m really concerned that we’re not looking at these things thoroughly,” Councilwoman Barbara Henley said. “I think this has been hurriedly put together with Audacy.” 

Those in favor of the festival argued that it would build Virginia Beach as a top tourist and entertainment destination and that it would be beneficial to couple the two festivals. 

“I think there is room to co-exist,” Councilmember Michael Berlucchi said.  “Second to the people that live here… the other great resource we have is the beach and the resort, and what we’re seeing is an activation of that space, unlike any time in our history.” 

Mayor Bobby Dyer agreed, saying the national exposure “would put a brand on Virginia Beach.”

Some council members said that they would also be open to choosing a different weekend or a different section of the boardwalk. However, they acknowledged that people living on the south end could be “festivaled out,” as Vice Mayor Rosemary Wilson described. 

Councilmembers agreed on an amendment to the language of the proposal’s location: “north of the 15th Street pier.” The ordinance was approved with the amendment. 

The festival does not have a name yet. 

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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