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J. Cole returns home with inaugural Dreamville Festival in Raleigh

Dreamville Festival will be held in Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh Saturday.
Dreamville Festival will be held in Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh Saturday.

Rapper and producer J. Cole grew up in Fayetteville and released his first mixtape in 2007. Now, he is returning home for the first-ever Dreamville Festival.

Cole will headline the two stage festival — one named "Rise," the other "Shine" — Saturday at Dorothea Dix Park near downtown Raleigh. 

“We hope to give back to the community with a celebration of all the things that makes Raleigh and North Carolina itself so great – music, food, art, culture and more,” said Ibrahim “IB” Hamad, president of Dreamville Records and J. Cole’s manager, in a press release.

Dreamville, named after Cole's record company was originally scheduled for last September, but Hurricane Florence barreling through the Carolinas led to the festival's cancellation. 

According to a press release, Dreamville Festival hopes to have a substantive economic and cultural impact on the region. The festival will benefit for the Dreamville Foundation and the Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy, and its organizers hope it will become an annual event.

J. Cole will perform in addition to many nationally recognized artists, like 21 Savage, SZA and Big Sean. Some North Carolina-born artists will perform, including Snow Hill native Rapsody, who was nominated for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Album” at the 2018 Grammy Awards. 

In addition to music, the event will feature a wide selection of food vendors, including Qspresso, Fatboys Kitchen and Party in a Pita. Merchandise and art will also be for sale, and attendees can witness some artists creating murals live. 

Dorothea Dix Park is Raleigh’s largest green space at 300 acres. The city of Raleigh acquired the property in 2015. The park is named after mental health advocate Dorothea Dix, and was home to a state mental hospital from 1856 to 2012. 

The festival is not the first time Cole has given back to his community. He founded the nonprofit Dreamville Foundation in 2011, which gives back to urban youth in Fayetteville and creates programming to help them be successful. 

In 2015 Cole announced he would rent his childhood home to struggling families and single mothers for free. 

According to the News & Observer, Cole said the house felt like a mansion to him after living in a trailer in Spring Lake. The family lost the house to foreclosure, but Cole bought it back after rising to fame.

“This event will ultimately give Cole a chance to make a direct impact to the people that helped shape who he is today,” said Hamad. 

GA tickets are still available online for $119, but VIP tickets are sold out. 

And unlike in September, the skies seem mostly clear for Saturday. 

Here is the full schedule: 


9:15 to 10:30 p.m.    J. Cole

7:45 to 8:15 p.m.      21 Savage

6:30 to 7:00 p.m.    Nelly

5:30 to 6:00 p.m.    J.I.D

4:30 to 5:00 p.m.    Teyana Taylor

3:30 to 4:00 p.m.    Ari Lennox

2:30 to 3:00 p.m.    Cozz

1:30 to 2:00 p.m.     Saba

12:50 to 1:10 p.m.    Lute

12:00 to 12:30 p.m. WQOK-FM DJ


8:15 to 9:00 p.m.     SZA

7:00 to 7:45 p.m.     Big Sean

6:00 to 6:30 p.m.    6LACK

5:00 to 5:30 p.m.    Bas

4:00 to 4:30 p.m.    Davido

3:00 to 3:30 p.m.    Rapsody

2:00 to 2:30 p.m.    Earthgang

1:10 to 1:30 p.m.      Omen

12:30 to 12:50 p.m. Mez

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