Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams returned home to headline the 3rd annual Z104 Shaggfest this past Saturday. The chart-topping hit-maker made waves in the news for his first headlining performance at the local radio station’s outdoor concert. Joining unsigned acts from Virginia, Mac Wilds, Rico Love, No Malice, Sean Paul and August Alsina, Williams easily made the concert one of the best in years with a groundbreaking performance.
What began in 2011 by DJ Brandon “Shaggy” Stokes has become one of Virginia Beach’s most iconic festivals. What started at a small club has now transitioned to the Virginia Beach Amphitheater at Farm Bureau. Shaggfest started as a way for local acts to find a venue to gain notoriety and perform around the area with no discrimination. All genres and all ages came together to witness this Lollapalooza-esque event. With more acts gaining fame from the Virginia area, Shaggfest has been able to attract some of the top names in the industry to unite people under a great sound. To date, there is nothing like it in the area and the festival continues to gain chart-topping headliners.
It was only a matter of time before Pharrell Williams came back home to deliver a history making performance on the Shaggfest stage. The year 2014 has been a great year for the N.E.R.D./ Neptune’s artist. The first Shaggfest was held in Richmond, Virginia and emcee Skillz headlined the show. The following year, Shaggfest brought home Timbaland, Missy Elliot, Magoo, Teddy Riley and the original Blackstreet for a nostalgic performance. Then in 2013, Shaggfest moved to Hampton Road’s largest venue for capacity reasons and brought in J.Cole, Ashanti, and a crowd-pleasing performance from the Clipse’s Pusha T. In 2014, after performing on the Today Show, Pharrell Williams went back home to Virginia Beach where he made history on the Farm Bureau stage.
The show kicked off with some local Virginia artists Hi 5 Ghost, the Cody Austin Band, former American Idol contestant Chris Richardson, Breeze Park, and more hit the stage to warm up the shaded crowd. The nationwide known acts like Rico Love and Mack Wilds came out to perform a medley of their hits, followed by singing-a-long to some throwback hip-hop and R&B tracks to keep the crowd hyped. Virginia native No Malice made an appearance, but did not take the time to grace the audience with any Clipse hits. As the sun went down, Def jam’s latest R&B sensation August Alsina took the stage to many ladies’ pleasure. Alsina performed his chart topping hit Numb and I Luv This Sh*t along with his rising hit Home featuring Young Jeezy. Sean Paul brought it to the islands with a performance of his past hits Temperature, Gimme the Light, and Got 2 Luv U. Although Paul was clearly out of breath and unprepared, that did not stop the crowd for dancing along to the set.
After a brief warm-up, Pharrell Williams later graced the stage to make history. Dressed in a track jacket, jeans and the infamous Vivianne Westwood hat, Williams kicked off his set with a performance of Come Get It Bae featuring Miley Cyrus. He later took it back to the old school days of his earlier career with Frontin’. The highlight of his set came from the surprise reunion of band N.E.R.D. It was like the 2000’s all over again and the trio did not miss a note or fail to deliver a high-energy performance to keep the crowd hyped. Williams later closed out his set with a dedication performance of the number one hit Happy. Although no encore followed or performance of more singles from GIRL, Williams’ return home was something not to be missed.
Opinion by Tyler Cole