Apr 4, 2024 - News

Raleigh begins a weekend to remember

Illustration of the Raleigh skyline with word balloons with question marks popping up from left to right above it.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Raleigh is the hottest city in North Carolina this weekend with the arrival of J. Cole's Dreamville Festival.

Why it matters: Nearly every hotel and Airbnb within a shout of Raleigh is booked, and local bars and restaurants are salivating at the huge uptick in visitors to the City of Oaks.

Between the lines: The events' overlap could have one of the biggest economic impacts for the city in recent memory, on par with 2023's NHL outdoor series game at Carter-Finley Stadium and the IBMA Bluegrass Festival's first Raleigh sojourn.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes also have two home games, adding to the fire of this weekend's festivities.

Zoom in: For weeks, bars like Players Retreat near N.C. State's campus have been setting sales records every round the Wolfpack men's and women's teams advanced in the NCAA tournaments.

  • That will reach a fever pitch on Saturday night, when the Wolfpack men play Purdue. The city will shut down parts of Hillsborough Street for an official watch party at Mitch's Tavern.

At the same time, the first day of Dreamville, which has grown bigger every year in Raleigh, will be nearing its headliner performance, with tens of thousands of people crammed into Dix Park.

  • If it reaches the same heights as last year, attendee spending could have more than a $100 million reverberation throughout Wake County.

What they're saying: "This weekend looks like a great weekend for an economic surge," Jennifer Martin, executive director of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, told Axios.

  • "There will be things to do all over the county, something for everyone and so many local businesses are looking forward to seeing additional foot traffic and looking how to maximize on the opportunities," she said.
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