Dreamville returns to Downtown Raleigh


By Mitch Baddour

It’s early spring in Raleigh, and you know what that means…Dreamville Festival is making its way back to Dorothea Dix park in downtown Raleigh, and with it is a star-studded lineup including headliners Usher, Lil Durke, Drake, and of course J. Cole.

The decorated lineup comprises 114 grammys shared between the three headliners. These historic performers will take the stage at Dorothea Dix park on April 1 and 2 to thrill the crowd with chart toppers, throwback hits, and even some unreleased previews.   

This will be the third occurrence in the festival’s history. The festival’s debut was initially scheduled for August 2018 before inclement weather from Hurricane Florence caused the event to be pushed to April 2019. After a very successful 2019 debut that generated about $3.9 million for Raleigh’s economy, according to Visit Raleigh, the festival announced it would become an annual event in the Capital City. Unfortunately, plans to capitalize on the festival’s success were halted in 2020 when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred and closed down all large gatherings and social events. 

William Peace University was an official education partner of the original Dreamville Festival,  held in conjunction with the Hip Hop and Higher Education Symposium hosted by WPU in 2019. WPU will host one day of the two-day the symposium again this year on March 30 and 31, which is free to all students.

Dreamville Festival finally made its return in 2022 and did so in a massive way. The star-studded lineup included Lil Wayne, T-Pain, Lil Baby, and of course J. Cole. In 2022, nearly 80,000 guests from over 14 countries and all 50 states gathered at Dorothea Dix park for the historic event. This festival went on to almost double the previous year’s economic impact by producing nearly $6.7 million in direct revenue to Wake County, with most of its impact being felt within minority-owned businesses.

Dreamville Festival itself is proudly noted as a black-owned music festival whose mission is “to emphasize community, diversity, and inclusivity throughout the onsite fan experience each spring,” according to DreamvilleFest.com. The festival highlights local minority-owned businesses through promotional efforts and numerous media guides. The overall message of promotion and inclusion of all minorities is woven deeply into the origins of Dreamville Festival.

Each time Dreamville Festival takes place, it acts as a historic weekend for the city of Raleigh and the state of North Carolina. This is precisely what’s primed to happen in less than a month at historic Dorothea Dix Park. The impact will be felt dramatically in the local economy, but the even more significant impact will be felt throughout the local community and minority-owned businesses.  

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Images courtesy of WPU. See more images here.