Dreamville Festival: J. Cole, Drake, Usher and More (April 1-2 in Raleigh)
Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 11am by David Menconi
Note: Authored by David Menconi, this piece has been produced in partnership with Raleigh Arts. Menconi's latest book, "Step It Up and Go: The Story of North Carolina Popular Music, from Blind Boy Fuller and Doc Watson to Nina Simone and Superchunk," was published in Oct. 2020 by University of North Carolina Press, and his new podcast, Carolina Calling, explores the history of the Tar Heel State through music.
After months of speculation, the lineup to the 2023 Dreamville Festival—perhaps the Tar Heel State's most-hyped annual music event—has been revealed.
The third edition of Dreamville is coming to downtown Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix Park April 1-2, and festival founder/guiding light J. Cole put the word out on Twitter on Feb. 28 about who plays when.
Here’s the artist lineup for both days:
Sat., April 1
- Lil Durk
- Ari Lennox
- City Girls
- Sean Paul
- Jessie Reyez
- Key Glock
- Marqus Clae
Sun., April 2
- J. Cole + Drake
- Burna Boy
- Summer Walker
- Waka Flaka Flame
- Ayra Starr
- Baby Tate
- Jordan Ward
- Reuben Vincent
With Usher as first-day headliner followed by Drake as special guest to Cole’s Sunday headlining set, that gives enhanced star power to a festival that might be the most important annual live event in hip-hop.
Although this is just the third Dreamville Festival, its origins go back five years. The first event was to have happened in the fall of 2018 but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Florence. It drew a capacity crowd of 40,000 people from across the country to Dix Park in April 2019.
Following a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19 in 2020-21, Dreamville returned in April of 2022 with an expanded two-day lineup. Both days sold out, drawing a crowd from all 50 states and more than 14 countries, creating more than $6.7 million in economic impact in Raleigh and Wake County.
As in previous years, Dreamville will offer a wide selection of local vendors, food trucks and artistic works curated by Cole himself to along with the music.
On sale now (and expected to sell out), two-day tickets for Dreamville 2023 start at $249.99 from dreamvillefestival.com, with VIP packages available. A portion of the proceeds will go to Cole’s charitable Dreamville Foundation, as well as the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy.
Dreamville Festival is an accessible event, with accessible viewing areas, walkways and ADA entry lanes at its entrances. Multiple accessibility-service booths will be on site for anyone with questions or assistance needs.
Details on parking will be released closer to the date. For other details, see the frequently asked questions page at Dreamvillefest.com.
Photo credits: Header photo and final photo by Greg Noire for The Parallel Agency; nighttime crowd photo by Julian Bajsel for The Parallel Agency
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