Captured is a picture of the sign first seen leading into the Dreamville festival gates. Warm spring colors filled the bubbly atmosphere as thousands of people packed the event. (Photo courtesy of Cierra Short)

On April 6 at noon, the gates for the very first Dreamville fest opened with thousands of hip hop fans awaiting. The Dreamville fest kicked off at Dorothea Dix Park, located in downtown Raleigh near NC State. The sold-out crowd contained people from all over the US, with an estimate of 40,000 people.

The event emerged from the creation of hip hop artist J.Cole whose very own stomping grounds are in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Cole’s intentions were to give back to his home state by sharing the profit with Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, Cole’s non-profit Dreamville Foundation, and relief toward Hurricane Florence.

The musical festival headlined J.Cole and featured hip hop artists SZA, 21 Savage, Big Sean, Nelly, Teyana Taylor, 6lack, and others. The ten-hour planned day had a series of activities for the general admission attendees, aside from the performing artist; my favorite being all the props you could take pictures with. The only downfall was waiting in line for every activity you wanted to do.

Dreamville was set to take place last fall but became postponed to a later date due to Hurricane Florence. This upset left anticipation in those that already bought their ticket but sparked an interest in those that had not yet bought theirs. The music festival started with 5,000 attendees and sold out with 40,000 by the month of April 2019 with the new date of April 6, 2019.

Dorothea Dix Park hosted festivals before but not as major as Dreamville. With 40,000 people estimated to attend the staff behind Dreamville had to be strategic in geographically planning the event.

George Garrelts, a senior, was an ambassador for Dreamville, responsible for selling tickets and promoting the event. Students of Leesville Road High School scored an interview with WRAL about their anticipation for Dreamville.

As an attendee of Dreamville, I enjoyed the experience. My fascination rested in how many people were able to come together for an event associated around hip hop.

April 6 was Dreamville’s very first run, kind of like trial and error. I definitely am excited about the future for the musical festival; the festival will be able provide opportunities for Raleigh as it was the first major music festival to take place here.

From a concert perspective the artists I witnessed perform put on a show, my personal favorite being 21 Savage and Teyanna Taylor. J.Cole headlined and brought out a special guest, Meek Mill, to close out the event and definitely was the highlight of the day. He was the last to perform, which took place at 9:30pm and lasted till around 11:30. J.Cole opened with his latest works and finished with some throwbacks that had the crowd still going from the all-day event.

Dreamville was an experience of a lifetime.Good spirits and joyful personas filled Dorothea Dix Park on April 6 to witness the musical festival for the first time. I applaud J.Cole and his staff for stepping out and putting on an event to ultimately give back to his community and hopefully this first experience of Dreamville won’t be my last.


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