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Dreamville Fest Takes Over Raleigh

Last Updated: April 5, 2022
Boardroom was there to capture the sights and sounds of the Dreamville Music Festival — with J. Cole, Lute, Cozz, and more putting on a memorable show.

Dreamvillians took over Raleigh, North Carolina, this past weekend when the 2022 Dreamville Music Festival returned to the City of Oaks. Dreamville fans from all across the world gathered at Dorothea Dix Park to see J. Cole and a slew of other artists perform, but there was much more to explore in the days leading up to the first set.

Partners for the festival included Monster EnergyNBA 2K, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and more. But no one was more in-demand than Dreamville, as one of the more popular draws was the pop-up shop. Selling hoodies, hats, socks, and sandals from the brand’s 2022 spring apparel collection, there were hour-long lines for entry. Fans were rewarded for their patience as some Dreamville mingled amidst the merch.

The ultimate attraction was seeing Dreamville artists in their element on stage. The anticipation around the live music offering was heightened when Dreamville dropped the surprise DJ Drama-assisted D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape on Thursday.

For the artists on J. Cole’s label, being able to perform at Dreamville Fest is an honor.

“It means a lot because I’m from North Carolina. This is a huge festival. It’s been nuts,” Dreamville rapper Lute told Boardroom on Saturday. “The energy here is different. It feels like a family reunion and cookout, for sure. My mom and my daughter were here, and you can’t do that at every festival. This has been incredible.”

J. Cole performing at Dreamville Fest. Photo credit: Simon Chasalow, Simon Chasalow
(Instagram: @simonchasalow; Twitter: @simonchasalow_)

Lute’s labelmate, Cozz — a rapper from Los Angeles — was looking for redemption this year.

“I wasn’t proud of my performance at the first Dreamville Fest because, at that time of my life, I was going through a lot. But this time, I’m on top of everything,” he told Boardroom. “The difference between last time and this time is huge. I go so hard when I perform because every time I’m on stage I think about how I can win over new fans who may not have heard my music.”

Dreamville Day 2 recap by Simon Chasalow (@simonchasalow), Bryson Moberley (@brysonmoberley), Sam Shapiro (@samshapiromedia), Jacob Hale (@jacobbryanhale), and Heisenberg (@heisenberg.mov)

Outside of Lute and Cozz, the entire Dreamville roster of J. Cole, Ari Lennox, Bas, J.I.D, Earthgang and Omen all performed. Additional artists include Lil Baby, Wale, T-Pain, WizKid, Rico Nasty, Bia and DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz set that included Lil Wayne, Jeezy and T.I. all performed.

The family environment that Lute speaks of was apparent in how the artists treated fans throughout the week. There were no shortages of autographs given and pictures taken. And although things can get wild in the midst of performances, multiple artists paused their sets to make sure fans who were injured or harmed were taken care of by the festival’s medical team.

The 2022 edition of Dreamville Festival doubled 2019’s turnout, bringing 80,000 people to Dorothea Dix Park according to the festival’s public relations team. Of the 80,000, more than 60% of fans who attended the festival attended the inaugural one in 2019. Dreamvillians traveled from all 50 U.S. States (including Washington D.C.) and 14 international countries.

In its maiden voyage in 2019 , the festival reportedly generated $3.8 million for the city of Raleigh. The first iteration of Dreamville Fest brought 40,000 people to North Carolina, but with two days of performances and five total days of activation, Dreamville is expecting to do much more.

“Our Dreamville team is not only grateful for our incredible fans across the world who traveled to attend or livestreamed online, but also to the greater Raleigh community for welcoming our festival back with open arms,” said Dreamville partner and festival president Adam Roy in a release. “After being forced to sit out the last three years and now seeing all of the overwhelmingly positive feedback from this past weekend, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of the fest. See you next spring for Year 3.”

(This article has been updated to include the attendance of Dreamville Fest this year.)

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About The Author
Randall Williams
Randall Williams
Randall Williams is a former Staff Writer at Boardroom specializing in sports business and music. He previously worked for Sportico, Andscape and Bloomberg. His byline has also been syndicated in the Boston Globe and Time Magazine. Williams' notable profile features include NFL Executive VP Troy Vincent, Dreamville co-founder Ibrahim Hamad, BMX biker Nigel Sylvester, and both Shedeur and Shilo Sanders. Randall, a graduate of "The Real HU" -- Hampton University — is most proud of scooping Howard University joining Jordan Brand nearly three months before the official announcement.