420ish Unity Festival kicks off first day in Portsmouth

420ish Unity Festival grounds.png
Posted at 2:30 AM, Apr 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-24 06:02:05-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A new music festival made its way to Hampton Roads. Saturday marked day one of the 420ish Unity Festival.

The festival took over the Portsmouth Sportsplex, with lots of people heading out to enjoy the music. The festival's organizer told us he's hoping the festival will be something people will never forget.

"It's relaxed, it's peaceful, you can't beat that," a festival attendee told News 3. "Enjoying yourself, being peaceful, there's a nice energy in the air."

With safety being the top priority, festival security said they're prepared for the influx of people.

"We have a comprehensive setup at the front gate, we have a comprehensive setup at the backstage entrance, and you must be credentialed to get in," said Roger Stephenson, the director of security for the festival.

Festival organizers hope the 420ish Unity Festival brings a new image to the city of Portsmouth.

"If we can come together and keep doing stuff like this, we can bring more and more to the city and it's going to be better" an attendee said.

A big stage, tents and smiling faces filled the festival grounds, and when it comes to experience, people attending the festival rate it highly.

"I would say an 8, I'm having a good time just relaxing with my friends," said Roxann Floyd.

The event has been in the works since last year, with the goal of bringing unity not only in Portsmouth but all of Hampton Roads, drawing city leaders' support.

"This is just not people from Portsmouth, they're from Hampton Roads," Senator Louise Lucas said. "They came out for some good music and good entertainment and this is how you party."

While many people had their doubts about the festival even happening, Lucas remained optimistic.

"People have asked for this, they want this and that's why they're here. I know there was a lot of skepticism, but we knew they were coming," Lucas said.

One opening performer said he hopes this festival is memorable for many.

"We bring something like this, we get these young kids that's in school a chance to see people doing something other then street stuff, and that gives them something to look up to," the performer told News 3.

Lucas told News 3 she hopes this festival lays the groundwork for many more like it to come to the city. She's also excited for the economic boost this will bring, and wants to see some of the funds made from this festival go to more programs within Portsmouth.