May 31, 2022 - News

J. Cole's Dreamville Festival was a Raleigh money maker

J. Cole wears an orange jacket and holds a microphone.

Rapper J. Cole performs onstage in 2021. Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images.

The 2022 edition of Dreamville, the music festival organized by rapper and North Carolina native J. Cole, had a $6.7 million economic impact in Wake County, the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Raleigh has, for years, sought out signature cultural events to host in the city. Dreamville, in its short history, has created a homegrown music festival with wide appeal.

  • The two-day April event reported 80,000 visitors, with tickets being sold in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as 20 countries.
  • Wake County hotels saw occupancy rates of 92% on the Saturday night of the festival, the visitors bureau said.
  • The festival also highlights how Raleigh's Dorothea Dix Park could be used in the future, as the city plans to ask voters to approve millions of dollars worth of investments into making it a world-class park.

Background: Launched in 2019 by J. Cole, Dreamville has brought major rap acts, such as Wiz Khalifa and Lil Baby, to Raleigh.

  • It wasn't clear if Dreamville would be more than a one-hit wonder. After a successful first year, the festival had a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • But when it returned this spring, attendance doubled.

Dreamville organizers and the city of Raleigh are already discussing plans for the 2023 festival and making it a fixture for years to come.

What they're saying: "My team and I continue to be awed by the overwhelming support we've received since closing out the second Dreamville Festival this April," Adam Roy, Dreamville Festival president, said in a statement. "But to now fully realize the festival's positive impact on the local economy and tourism, it truly is unbelievable."

  • "Our Dreamville team looks forward to furthering its investments in the community for years to come, especially as we plan for the festival's return in spring 2023."

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