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420ish Unity Festival arriving soon; City of Portsmouth says plans are on track

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Posted at 12:50 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 06:42:42-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A music festival with a lineup of nationally-known hip hop and reggae artists is scheduled for April 23 and 24 in Portsmouth, and plans appear to be on track.

According to Dana Woodson, a spokesperson for the City of Portsmouth, organizers of the 420ish Unity Festival have turned in the required paperwork, and they’ll be meeting with the city later this week to work on details.

Some were skeptical because it seemed to be announced relatively close to the event date. But organizers told News 3 that the plans have been in the works for months and some artists were booked back in December.

According to a correspondence from Portsmouth City Manager Angel Jones, 420ish Unity Festival organizers had until the end of the day Friday, April 8 to turn in a certificate of insurance naming the city as additional insured.

The statement from Angel Jones also stated, “In addition, we would request regular coordination meetings with City staff, on at least a weekly basis, beginning no later than the week of April 4, 2022.”

According to Woodson, there is a meeting scheduled for this week to discuss details such as parking. Germain Green and Lakeesha Atkinson are organizing the festival. Green said this week’s meeting will be held on Wednesday.

The 420ish Unity Festival is to be held outdoors in the field behind the Portsmouth Sportsplex, located at 801 Portsmouth Boulevard.

The advertised lineup includes artists Rick Ross, Shaggy, Gucci Mane, Remy Ma, City Girls, Spice and more. Green said hip hop duo Method Man and Redman, originally on the schedule, may not be there after all. He added that some up-and-coming artists from Virginia will also get an opportunity to perform.

During an interview in March, Atkinson said, “We have a very comprehensive safety plan. That includes the Portsmouth Police Department, Portsmouth Sheriff’s Department, and we have hired security. We also have a staffing company on top of volunteers ensuring safety.”

Portsmouth Police Department Public Information Officer Victoria Varnedoe confirmed with News 3 that the department will be providing services, similar to what they provide at concerts at the pavilion downtown.

"Our primary focus is traffic control,” Varnedoe wrote.

According to the 420ish Unity Festival website, tickets are $199 for a 1-day pass, $299 for a 2-day pass, or $449 for a VIP 2-day pass. Green said there are discounts for residents of Portsmouth.

The festival is set to begin at noon each day and wrap by 11 p.m., according to organizers. They say it will be held rain or shine.

Online sales are through Front Gate Tickets. A sales representative for FGT confirmed they are the ticketing provider for the 420ish Fest. FGT or Germain Green would not comment on how many tickets have been sold so far. Green did say that tickets would also be sold at the gate on the days of the festival.