Apr 1, 2022 - Culture

Hip-hop and hoops: The Triangle is the center of everything this weekend

j. Cole at Charlotte all-star game

J. Cole performed at halftime of the 2019 NBA All-Star game in Charlotte wearing a Hornets Starter jacket. This weekend he'll be in Raleigh hosting his music festival, on the same night that Duke and North Carolina play in the Final Four. Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images

OK, we see you, Triangle. Showing off a little bit this weekend, are we?

What’s happening: Two huge events collide on one weekend.

  • In town, North Carolina native J. Cole’s Dreamville Fest is back at Dorthea Dix Park after a 2-year hiatus, bringing some of the biggest names in hip-hop.
  • And in New Orleans, you may have heard, there’s a bit of a Final Four basketball game between Duke and Carolina that people here will be watching — one so big that the governor himself issued an official proclamation declaring North Carolina the “center of the college basketball universe.”

Why it matters: After two years of pandemic mode have squashed much of the area’s tourism and social scenes, the big events happening this weekend signal the Triangle might be returning to its post-COVID self.

  • People from all across the state, including Charlotte, are planning crusades to the Triangle to fill up restaurants and hotels — and they’re driving up prices and making it hard to get in.

The intrigue: It’s all nuts for a place that was shut down for most of the past two years:

  • Most hotels in Raleigh are already booked, though we did find some rooms at 3-star hotels going for more than $200+ on Thursday.
  • In Chapel Hill the popular bar Sup Dogs started selling tickets on Wednesday for a seat inside on Saturday, WRAL reported. Guess what? People started lining up on Tuesday.
  • Meanwhile, for anyone trying to get out of town, flights from RDU to New Orleans were going for about $1,000 this week. And for a brief period Monday, roundtrip tickets from Charlotte Douglas to New Orleans this weekend would’ve cost you $2,000.

Details: Dreamville Fest’s two-day lineup includes J. Cole, Lil Wayne, Wale and Lute, plus other big names.

  • Dreamville Fest brought in 40,000 people and about $3.79 million in economic impact when it was just a one-day show in 2019.
  • Meanwhile, many restaurants and bars throughout the area are sold out.

Of note: J. Cole, a Fayetteville native, regularly includes North Carolina in his lyrics. He famously performed in an old-school Starter jacket at the halftime show at the NBA All-Star game in Charlotte in 2019.

  • Tickets to Dreamville Fest are still available. Or if you’re planning on watching the game from a Triangle sports bar, prepare for a packed house.

Worth noting: If you’re going to Dreamville but also want to watch the game, have no fear: The festival will be streaming it.

Don’t forget: The city of Raleigh doesn’t currently have any mask or vaccination requirements. But Dreamville notes that the CDC recommends you bring and wear a mask if you’re unvaccinated.


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