The Best & Worst Moments of Dreamville Festival 2023

From the lineup to the surprise appearances to the cool activations and ops (we got the honor of chatting up a few of the big names!), Dreamville was indeed a dream.

Another, ahem, dreamy Dreamville Festival has come and gone in the City of Oaks—some would say the most epic fest to date. The two-day fest saw some of the most iconic names in hip-hop take to the Rise and Shine stages at Dix Park (Drake! Usher! Sean Paul!), bringing in ~100,000 visitors from all over the state, country and world. 

Dreamville Festival 2023

“To see the festival at this magnitude each year—it’s phenomenal,” said day one performer Lute in a sit-down chat with Raleigh Magazine in the artists’ lounge at the festival. “I saw that 15% of people at the festival are from [Raleigh], and the rest are from somewhere else. So I think it’s kinda fire that all these people are coming here.” (He’s not wrong—that’s 50 states and 23 countries to be exact (!)) … As J. Cole’s brainchild keeps getting dreamier and dreamier, we’re thrilled to have front-row seats. Having attended every Dreamville since its inception, here’s our hot take.


Surprise Appearances 

As if the planned lineup wasn’t star-studded enough, Dreamville Fest really pulled out all the stops with its surprise performers. Screams could not be contained as the likes of Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage appeared onstage. Now… how will they top it next year?!

Dreamville Festival Waka

The Artists’ Lounge

Raleigh Magazine got the cool op to hang in the Artists’ Lounge to meet and interview a few of the artists, including Lute, Waka Flocka Flame and Mario. When asked about his performance, Waka said: “I didn’t know what I was gonna do, I just went up there and performed. I be up there just fucking partying.” Naturally, festival attendees partied right there with him. “I love North Carolina,” he added. “In the future I’m gonna do a lot in Raleigh.” And we’re ready for it

Local Biz Spotlights

The Dreamville Fest team made sure to spotlight a handful of local businesses in its Raleigh City Guide (think Oro, Five Star, Foundation, Bittersweet and Black Friday Market, to name but a few), spreading the love throughout the city—and showcasing just how amazing Raleigh really is.


Usher’s April Fools’ Joke

Usher’s performance was epic. Period. NTM the instant gif born of him pouring water over his abs. And Big Ush’s got jokes. And the internet is mad about it. During his performance, Usher paused to intro a surprise appearance from Beyoncé—after which you could hear a pin drop as the insane crowd waited to greet their queen. After what felt like an eternity Usher yelled “April Fools.” (“There’s some things you just shouldn’t joke about”)…  

Dreamville Festival Usher

No Bars

Despite the Dreamville Fest team’s efforts to provide better service this year, attendees still struggled to use their phones. Those poor Instagram feeds! NTM attendees’ safety. It was a struggle to get a call or text out—so in the event of an emergency you’d be, well, screwed. Word on the grounds was Verizon users had the worst luck using their phones.

Uber Crash

Apparently, the Uber app crashed on Saturday night (!), leaving many festivalgoers scrambling to get out of Dix Park. It reportedly got so bad that a bus had to come out and escort people Downtown so they’d at least get off the grounds. Pro tip for next year: Walk Downtown and order an Uber from a bar or restaurant, or arrange a ride home with a friend! We made the trek for the last two years and noticed way more people walking alongside us in 2023. #DreamvilleHike2024—who’s with us?!

Source link

About the Author

Angela Brown
Angela Brown is the author of our Business & Economy section.