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Dreamville Festival Brings Coachella Vibe To North Carolina

J. Cole
Dreamville Festival
Dreamville Festival Flyer

Some of the biggest music festivals take place this month. Coachella in California, Broccoli City in Washington, DC and MerleFest in Wilkesboro. And on Saturday, a music festival in Raleigh backed by one of hip-hop's biggest names hopes of someday having similar prestige.

Credit Sarafina Wright
Dreamville Records Artist Lute.

Rapper J. Cole, who grew up in Fayetteville, created the Dreamville Festival. The name plays off his Dreamville record label. One of its artists – rapper Lute of Charlotte, is performing Saturday.

Lute says he doesn't take the opportunity for granted. The invitation wasn't guaranteed just because he’s signed to Dreamville Records.

“It was one of those moments... It was like, wow, it’s time to go and really go out here and showcase my talent. Not only for a big festival but for this festival to be at this magnitude in my own state.”

The Dreamville Festival isn’t just showcasing Dreamville Records artists. Its lineup includes SZA, Young Thug, Big Sean, Nelly and of course J. Cole.

The festival’s creative director, Adam Rodney, says the goal is for Dreamville to become North Carolina’s Coachella.

“We always wanted this thing to be like an annual thing that the community could rally around. That residents from Raleigh, across the state and even the region could look forward to. I know what those things can bring to a city and I look forward to fostering that kind of cultural gem in North Carolina.”

There have been some challenges, mainly weather. The festival was supposed to open last fall, but Hurricane Florence ended those plans. Rodney says it was a blessing in disguise.

The lineup is better, and there’s another purpose to the festival.

A percentage of ticket sales go to hurricane disaster relief. Dreamville Festival is at Dorthea Dix Park in downtown Raleigh. All 40,000 tickets are sold.