What to Eat (and Expect) at Pharrell’s Major Music Festival in DC This Weekend

Set in a monumental setting along Independence Avenue, the highly anticipated Something in the Water (SITW) festival takes place in the nation’s capital from Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19.

Epic festival superstar founder Pharrell Williams vied with 50 other big-name artists, including Justin Timberlake, Calvin Harris, Dave Matthews Band, Tyler The Creator and Usher, to perform the weekend around June 19 – a now federal holiday which is widely observed on Monday June 20 this year. Three-day passes are still available for $399.50.

While estimated crowd numbers and ticket sales are unclear, the 50,000 authorized festival attendees bouncing between stages will be spoiled for choice (outside food and drink are prohibited). More than 30 newly announced vendors were invited to serve on site, ranging from DC favorites to notable imports like Texas-based Trill Burgers, a hugely popular burger pop-up backed by Houston rapper Bun B, and the Neapolitan replacement for the Upper East Side, San Matteo. Pizzeria.

Bubbie’s will be serving its fried chicken sandwiches and fries.
Shaun Sharkey/Bubbie’s

While Eater awaits bar and liquor details, the confirmed food lineup revealed on Tuesday, June 14 swings widely at the local level and away from the big chains. DC’s signature half-smoke will come from the city‘s flag bearer itself: Ben’s Chili Bowl. Fast casual vegan siblings Pow Pow and Bubbie’s Plant Burgers plan to release their biggest hits for fans. Pow Pow will send its General Chick Fried Rice, Taiwanese Fried Mozzarella Balls and Firecracker Drumsticks.

Other fast-growing local brands represented at SITW include Cuban coffee Colada Shop, Bun’d Up, known for its Taiwanese steamed buns with Korean toppings, and Jamaican food truck [email protected], which preparing to open a brick and mortar store. outpost at Adams Morgan.

SITW vendors, who accept both cash and credit, are all lined up along a row of restaurants on Independence Avenue SW. The service operates in parallel with the festival hours: from 2 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Attendees with a ticket will be allowed in and out as many times as needed, and the entry point is along Independence Avenue SW (between 3rd and 9th Streets SW). Here is some other relevant information to know about the highly publicized event:

Getting There

With several road closures and limited to no public parking in the area, public transportation is the way to go. There are several subway stations within walking distance, but be warned: major track work this weekend will close five stations on the Orange Line between New Carrollton and Stadium-Armory. Rideshare pickup and drop-off points are at 14th Street SW (between Independence and Constitution Avenues SW) and Constitution Avenue SW (between 4th and 14th Streets SW).

Who is behind the edible range

Inter Miami CF season opener hosted by David Grutman and Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams at the opening of the Goodtime Hotel last spring in Miami Beach.
Photo by Alexandre Tamargo/Getty Images

Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams is actually a foodie himself; he moonlights as a top restaurateur in Miami, where he runs scene staples Strawberry Moon at The Goodtime Hotel and Swan with South Beach hospitality king David Grutman. Its SITW team commissioned Best Beverage Catering to manage and manage the catering program. In the world of high-profile festival and event planning, the full-service band’s national resume is as good as it gets (it’s nurtured fans of Coachella, Ultra Miami, Electric Zoo and BottleRock, among others).

The lineup also features small businesses from Virginia Beach, which is Williams’ hometown and where the festival kicked off in 2019. Options include Italian ice cream (Melting snow at sunset), cold draft brew made with coffee beans from the Dominican Republic (Niola Cafe); and breakfast eat (Cutta’s kitchen in Norfolk, Virginia). Shuttle service is also available from Virginia Beach.


Pharrell Williams at the first Something in the Water festival in Virginia Beach.
Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water


DC hotels within walking distance offer themed packages to entice ticket holders and the general public to book rooms. A stay in a “Turn Up & Turn Down” suite at the downtown Hamilton Hotel, for example, includes cocktails and breakfast at its chic Italian restaurant Via Sophia, an in-room record player to make turn vinyls from featured artists at SITW and a kit of festival essentials. with water and snacks.

Culinary Highlights at SITW

Southern Comfort Foods: Experience New Orleans Classics from the Columbia Heights Pillar Creole on the 14th; Cajun Fried Chicken and Waffles from Woodbridge, Virginia. Mamaw’s tableand hearty po’boys and Louisiana-style fare from the H Street NE stalwart Po’boy Jim.

The return eats: SITW marks the revival of crab-topped fries, a destination dish at Anacostia’s Cheers @ The Big Chair before it closed in 2019 (owner Dionne Bussey-Reeder dubs her booth SITW “Chez Dionne”).

Jerk Chicken: Jerk @ Nitewhich just fueled top performers at RFK’s Broccoli City Festival, joins other local Caribbean vendors at SITW like Seafood at the Shack and The kitchen jerk.

Mexican: Find Tacos in DC’s Traveling Popup dirty taco for me and Virginia Beach Fajita Express.

Ice cream: With temperatures expected to hit the mid-90s on Friday, consider cooling off with some scoops from Springfield, Virginia. paradise ice cream and DC’s silky gelato and sorbet Gelat’Oh Truck.

Vegan: Go meatless with West African leanings Hedzole out of McLean, Virginia and DC pow pow and Bubbie’s Veggie Burger.

Instagram-worthy picks: Ft. Washington Decade Fried Chicken Filled Waffle Cones Capital CW; fried watermelon from a carnival-style outfit from Bowie, Maryland; and fish-shaped ube-stuffed waffles — a popular Japanese street food from Chantilly, Virginia. rice cultivation which is called the only taiyaki mochi shop in the area. Lorton, Virginia Buddin’s Bakery will also send sweets.

Meaty options: Maryland has a strong barbecue representation (The pleasure of smokers, House of BBQ Chimneys) and creative riffs on American classics (Dogs on the sidewalk), plus half-smokes of Ben’s Chili Bowl, the 64-year-old U Street NW icon.

Out-of-town recreation: Distant imports worth checking out include stellar slices of celebrity-filled Italian hotspot Pizzeria San Matteo in New York, and Texas ground beef patties smashed onto a hot surface at Houston rapper Bun B’s famous pop-up Trill Burgers.

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