Pharrell Williams at Global Citizen Festival Hamburg; by Frank Schwichtenberg; Courtesy of WikiCommons

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You Deserve to Be Celebrated: A week before Pharrell Williams’ Something in the Water Festival takes over the National Mall from June 17 through 19, the singer announced that every D.C. public and charter high school graduate will receive a free pass to the festival. “Congrats to this year’s D.C. high school graduates,” Williams says in an Instagram announcement, posted Friday, June 10. “You’ve truly inspired all of us through your resiliency and your ability to learn—through a pandemic. You deserve to be celebrated so we’re gonna.” Seniors must claim their tickets by June 16. The gift, which offers more than 4,000 grads free access to the fest, comes from a partnership between Williams and XQ Institute, a nationwide organization that’s rethinking high school experience to ensure every graduate is ready to succeed in college, career, and life.

The announcement comes a few weeks after local activists expressed their disappointment that the event, falling on Juneteenth weekend, carried such a high price tag. The $300 passes have been sold out for some time and, as of today, June 13, the $350 tickets—plus a $50 fee—are unavailable; $399.50 passes, with that same $50 service fee, are still available. 

A market, dubbed the DC+XQ Community Market, with local vendors, a photo booth, and an interactive experience with artist Chris Pyrate will take place near the festival on June 18 and 19. That event is open to the public.

All the Stars are Closer: The day before the massive ticket giveaway, Williams released the names of some artists who couldn’t be announced previously. All our praying for Beyonce didn’t come to fruition (yet, there are still unnamed surprise guests), but newly announced artists including SZA, Justin Timberlake, Clipse, N.O.R.E, and Q-Tip. Anderson .Paak, J Balvin, 21 Savage have also been added to the already stacked lineup along with local acts Bad Brains: A Tribute by Black Dots, TOB, and YungManny

For those who can’t or aren’t attending, Amazon Music will livestream Something in the Water starting at 3 p.m. on June 17, via Amazon Music’s Twitch channel and Prime Video, which will feature two channels of content.

Malls, Museums, and Music: Since the festival is taking over the Mall June 17–19, it’s no wonder that a couple museums won’t be open those days. Both the Hirshhorn, its sculpture garden, and the National Museum of the American Indian will be closed those days. All the rest (except Air and Space, which is still undergoing renovations) will be open to the public, but check their websites for best entry points to avoid the music festival crowd.

Plugged Back In: After a year and half, the Luce Listening Party podcast has come to an end with a final “Best Of” episode that highlights some of the show’s most memorable moments. The podcast came out when Luce Unplugged, the local live music series from Luce Foundation Center in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, was put on an undetermined hiatus due to everyone’s least favorite life interrupter, COVID-19. The Luce Foundation partnered with Hometown Sounds’ Tony Porreco and Paul Vodra to spotlight conversations with many of the musicians who call D.C. home. During its run, they interviewed nearly 20 artists including Bartees Strange, Yasmin Williams, and Broke Royals (who recently signed a record deal with Byrdland Records). According to Luce Unplugged’s page on the American Art Museum’s website, the in-gallery concert series is still on hiatus, but hopefully the podcast’s end is a good sign that the live event will return soon.

It’ll Last Longer: The Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum is asking Washingtonians to take a picture of themselves and their communities for a new initiative, Portraits by the People. As part of the museum’s 55th anniversary, the institution will collect images through September 15 in an effort to capture a visual representation of D.C. neighborhoods and the people who call it home. Interested parties can submit pics online at anacostia.si.edu/portraits. Submissions will be shown on social media and as well as during the museum’s in-person celebration in September. “For the past 55 years, the Anacostia Community Museum has been powered by the people of D.C.,” Melanie Adams, director of the museum, says in a press release. “By asking residents to share snapshots of their lives at this moment in time, Portraits by the People continues the museum’s tradition of preserving and celebrating local stories.”

Courtesy of Live Nation

Better Now: Post Malone is the latest big name in pop music to announce a stop in D.C. during his upcoming Twelve Carat tour. The rapper will play Capital One Arena on Oct. 4 with special guest Roddy Ricch, who appears on his latest album, Twelve Carat Toothache. Tickets go on sale June 17.