“Dreamville” may evoke images of pajamas and fluffy clouds, but J. Cole’s annual music festival, which is entering its third year, leans more into the bright, floral and psychedelic. Tequila seltzers and carnival rides populate Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix Park as festivalgoers wander between two stages — aptly named “Rise” and “Shine.”
After making its post-Covid comeback last year, Dreamville Festival will return to Cole’s home state of North Carolina on April 1 and 2. The festival’s inaugural run was originally slated for 2018, but due to Hurricane Florence, it was pushed to 2019. In 2022, the festival expanded into two stages and two days for its second iteration, attracting 40,000 people each day. While Dreamville Festival is officially slated for the weekend, events start as early as the week before with pre-shows, pop-up bars and social mixers around Raleigh. Proceeds from the festival are donated to charity, including Cole’s Dreamville Foundation for urban youth. The 2023 line up has not been released at the time of this writing. You can check if its been released here.
If one thing stands out about Dreamville Festival, it’s the community. The festival embraces all things local, even putting on a family-style cookout for attendees, while also bringing in some of hip-hop’s biggest names. In 2022, J.Cole’s Dreamville Records artist Ari Lennox played alongside R&B mainstay Kehlani and North Carolina-based up and comer Mikhala Jené who was just a festival attendee back in 2019. Additionally, the festival has a diverse cuisine offering, from Caribbean Kicker’s jerk chicken quesadillas to Sea Breeze Italian Ice’s frozen treats. Unlike the sweltering heat that plagues many other spring festivals (ahem, Coachella and Stagecoach), last year’s weather conditions were fairly comfortable, peaking at 68 on Saturday and 70 on Sunday.