Dreamville Festival brings sell-out crowds to Dix Park
A sold-out crowd of 40,000 people headed to Dix Park on Saturday for the first Dreamville Festival, which will include music, culture, vendors and food.
Relatively few incidents were reported during the festival, although announcements were made beginning at 7 p.m. about an 11-year-old who had gone missing. The girl had been reunited with her family by 9 p.m.
While festival-goers warned of mud caused by Friday’s rain, concert-goers enjoyed mild-temperatures around 70 degrees and partly cloudy skies.
After recent rain, event staff were seen trying to soak up puddles of mud before the music got underway.
“It might be a dirt field when they get done, because we are going to jump tonight,” attendee Terry Willis said before the festival got underway.
Dreamville Festival was created by hip hop artist J. Cole, who was born in Germany, but was raised in Fayetteville.
Gates opened at noon and the event runs until 10:30 p.m. There are two music stages, featuring performers Mez, Rapsody, 6LACK, 21 Savage, Nelly and SZA. J. Cole will close things out with a set expected to begin just after 9 p.m.
The festival marks a rare occurrence in which the entire Dreamville Records roster will be performing at one event including Bas, J.I.D, Cozz, Earthgang, Ari Lennox, Omen and Lute, organizers said.
In addition to the musical performances, the festival also features a range of activities including putt putt golf course, beer garden, vendors selling local products, the “Dreamville Festival Art Wall” and a dedicated lounge space reserved for members of The Divine Nine.
The road to Dreamville was long for some as people streamed into Dix Park from every direction Saturday afternoon. Willis got there on foot.
“We walked a mile to get here,” he said.
Whether people were parking, getting dropped off or waiting for a shuttle, Dreamville was a big test for large events at Dix Park.
Efron Portillo found the best way to avoid crowds at Dreamville by making sure he was first in line. He was waiting for roughly eight hours before the gates opened Saturday afternoon.
“I have been waiting for this since I can remember,” he said.
Jared Brewer traveled six hours from Atlanta to attend the festival and said the trip was worth the effort. He believed it was the culture, which brought together music lovers from different backgrounds, that made the inaugural Dreamville Festival memorable.
“Just come with an open mind, open expectations,” he said.
Originally, festival promoters had planned on holding the event on Sept. 15, 2018 but Hurricane Florence prompted organizers to reschedule the event in 2019.
Organizers said Dreamville Festival will donate proceeds to help hurricane victims across the state as well as to the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy and the Dreamville Foundation, a nonprofit J.Cole founded in 2011 to “bridge the gap” between the worlds of opportunity and the urban youth of Fayetteville.