The long-awaited Dreamville festival finally arrived, and it did not disappoint. Fans from all over headed to Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday, April 6, 2019. The sold-out inaugural event is set to be one of the biggest successes for the city. The festival brought in over 40,000 people during the weekend, numbers that Raleigh doesn’t usually see and definitely didn’t anticipate in the beginning. Headliner and CEO of Dreamville, J. Cole, has always spoken about doing something big for his home state and it was clear he was extremely thankful the inaugural year was a success.
Dreamville Fest brought positive vibes and much-needed joy
The one-day event showcased performances by some of Hip Hop and R&B’s biggest talents, including Dreamville’s very own. Two beautifully painted murals of the late rappers, Mac Miller and Nipsey Hussle, greeted you as you walked into the festival. As you continued to walk around, there were more stations for photo ops, multiple tables to buy exclusive festival merchandise, and very long lines for food and drinks. The festival included two stages with huge screens for fans to watch their favorite artists at any point.
As more people entered the festival, it began to feel like a family reunion. People laying out on blankets, parents hanging out with their kids, and everyone seemed to have a smile on their faces. It was a full day of positive energy and much-needed joy without any major damage or medical emergencies.
J. Cole performs new hits and old classics
Fans grew of excitement to finally see J. Cole’s performance. By 9:00 pm, the main stage was packed with 40,000 people waiting patiently and chanting J. Cole’s name for him to come out. As he walked out in an exclusive Dreamville jersey and puma sweatpants, the spotlights shined directly on him as he stood on the stage taking it all in. He looked over the crowd in awe of what he was seeing as they cheered and clapped for him. There were day one fans that grew up with him for the past 10 years and counting and newer fans that have come to love his recent music. He saw people from all over the world in his birth state, some visiting for the first time. There was a genuine love that made him speechless, but not for long as he opened the show with his recent single “Middle Child”. His performance included singles from his albums and what he calls classics from his beginning mixtapes. Everyone in the crowd shouted every word back to him.
Tribute to Nipsey Hussle
Cole brought out Atlanta-native, 21 Savage, to perform their hit single “A lot” together for the first time. He previously dedicated his verse to 21 a few weeks back at his NBA All-Star Halftime performance, also held in North Carolina. A surprise performance made by Philly rapper, Meek Mill, also had the crowd excited as Cole gave him the stage to perform a few of his own hit songs. In between performances, a touching tribute to Nipsey Hussle captivated the audience. The festival took place just six days after the beloved LA rapper was shockingly killed. His name was mentioned in dedication from most of the musicians throughout the day. J. Cole took the time to perform his touching single “Love Yourz” as clips of Nipsey Hussle flowed behind him. The tribute felt like a much-needed healing session for the audience as they reflected on his life.
The inaugural Dreamville Festival was a success, musically and for the city of Raleigh. Both Dreamville and fans hope to see the festival back again in 2020.