WASHINGTON - As Pharrell’s Something in the Water music festival draws near, several local groups are organizing a competing festival for those who may not be able to afford the ticket prices and want to celebrate Juneteenth.
Nee Nee Taylor, the co-founder of Harriet’s Wildest Dreams and one of the organizers of a competing festival, told FOX 5 that being a D.C. native she was excited to see SITW brought to the District, but she had a few concerns.
"When they released how much the tickets cost I was like you got to be kidding me," Taylor said. "Where do they think that the people who actually celebrate Juneteenth…where can they pay for a $300 ticket a $400 ticket, a $500 ticket? What I can say is that the majority of people east of the river and the Black D.C. natives still here, we can’t afford that ticket price comfortably. We would have to rob Tony to pay Tyrone. That means one bill is not going to be able to get paid."
Taylor says she’s also concerned the city is co-sponsoring the event and has issues with one of the festival days falling on June 19th, when many in the area will be celebrating Juneteenth.
Juneteenth commemorates the freedom of enslaved people in the United States after the Civil War.
Taylor says her organization is partnering with several other groups to hold another festival which they plan to call "Chocolate City Jubilee" not only for those looking to celebrate Juneteenth but for those who may have not been able to afford the tickets to Something in the Water.
"I do believe this event is not for us. It’s for gentrifiers. It’s for people to come in from different places and enjoy D.C. which is fine but not on Juneteenth," Taylor said. "Before Juneteenth became a holiday, D.C. always celebrated Juneteenth."
She says there will be free food, drinks, and entertainment at her event.
The music lineup will consist of Go-Go bands and all local talent.
Taylor tells FOX 5 they applied to have the festival at Freedom Plaza and a few other parks and are waiting on an answer.
FOX 5 also reached out to SITW organizers and the Mayor’s Office for a comment but haven’t heard back yet.