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Positivity in Portsmouth: Portsmouth mayor reflects on success of 420ish Unity Festival

Rick Ross at 420ish Unity Festival
Posted at 9:34 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:27:40-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Success despite some skepticism. Portsmouth hosted the 420ish Unity Festival, now giving the city hope for more events.

News 3 sat down with the mayor of Portsmouth to discuss what he called a success.

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Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover speaks with News 3 reporter Kelsey Jones

Hundreds of people came out to the Portsmouth Sportsplex over the weekend to enjoy entertainers and experience a festival of that magnitude that has not been done before in the city.

"They call it 'Unity Festival' - that's exactly what it felt like. I haven't seen it quiet in Portsmouth in so long," said Portsmouth resident Mary Simms.

Mayor Shannon Glover was easily impressed with the outcome.

"Portsmouth is a positive place, and it was demonstrated by what was put on this weekend. We want to take advantage of that," said Mayor Glover.

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Rapper Rick Ross on stage at the 420ish Unity Festival in Portsmouth

The goal of the festival - to change the city's image.

"One of my visions for Portsmouth is for us to become the festival, historic port city. We've already got the 'historic' and 'port city' down; now we just need to bring more acts; more events; more exposure," said Glover.

That will start with conversations aiming to bring more festivals and fun activities to attract tourists and bring big bucks to the city.

"We continue to come together to have events and collaborate. We just create a better opportunity to provide resources," said Glover.

Festival organizers did not share with News 3 how much money they made from ticket sales; however, for every ticket sold, $3.50 is going towards Portsmouth Parks and Recreation, along with 10% of funds going towards the city for taxes.

Simms, a longtime resident, said she hopes the economic boost from the festival will being more positive programs to the city.

"Let's start different type of programs - sports, dance, whatever we can do to all come together and make this a great city again," said Simms.

Glover tells News 3 he supports the 420ish Unity Festival coming back next year. We also spoke with Germain Green, the festival organizer, and he said it's in the works.