25 Things To Know Before You Attend Dreamville Festival Raleigh (2023)

One of the premier and most popular events in Raleigh is the Dreamville Festival, created by J. Cole, a Grammy award-winning and multi-platinum hip-hop artist who grew up down the road from Raleigh in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Lady taking a photo of a sign that says Dreamville
Image credit: Greg Noire / @gregnoire

As one of the largest artist-curated music festivals in the country, you can expect a big weekend of incredible music by some of the best hip hop artists and R&B singers hand-picked by Cole to perform in Raleigh’s beautiful and historic Dorothea Dix Park, the largest park in the city!

Now in its third year (this annual event had a two-year pause due to the pandemic) but this year’s festival promises to be the biggest yet. Keep reading to find out why and to learn all-you-need-to-know before attending Dreamville 2023!

Dreamville Festival Raleigh

What is Dreamville Fest?

Singer on stage at a music festival
Image credit: Andrew Cigna / @a_ciggs

Held over two days each spring in Raleigh, Dreamville is a multi-stage outdoor music festival curated by J. Cole, the founder of Dreamville Records

The first Dreamville Festival was in 2019 and has quickly become one of the most popular artist-led music festivals in the world, with 50,000 attendees expected to attend on each of the two days in 2023.

One of the reasons J. Cole created this festival was it allowed him the opportunity to give back to his home state which has played a pivotal role in shaping his career.

Man sitting on top of a car with a sign behind him that says Dreamville
Image credit: Greg Noire / @gregnoire

For him, this is more than just a music festival where J. Cole invites his favorite musical artists and collaborators from big stadium superstars to exciting new up and coming artists from across the world to perform in his home state. It’s also a celebration of local culture, food, arts, diversity, and inclusivity.

This festival also plays host to local independently owned businesses, plus artisans, muralists, merchants, and community organizations who offer attendees a taste of the vibrant Raleigh lifestyle.

Large crowd at a music festival with fireworks
Image credit: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

If this is your first Dreamville in Raleigh, get ready for a large-scale music fest featuring performances by some of the biggest names in music merged with a cool vibe where everyone feels welcome!

When is Dreamville Fest 2023?

Dreamville 2023 will take place over two days on the weekend of April 1 and 2. The expanded two-day event this year also coincides with the increase in capacity to 50,000 fans each day!

Where is the Dreamville Festival 2023?

Map of Raleigh, North Carolina

The Dreamville Festival location is at the picturesque Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh’s largest city park. This 308-acre park of sprawling greenspace sits right in the heart of Raleigh and shares a boundary with downtown Raleigh, NC State University’s Centennial Campus, and the NC State Farmers Market.

People at a fall festival in a big city park
Fall festival at Dix Park

The Big Field is the specific location within Dix Park and this festival has two-stages and the performances will alternate between the two stages each day!

Address: 101 Blair Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603

Who is performing at the Dreamville Festival in 2023?

singer performing on stage at a music festival
Image credit: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

Get excited music lovers, this year’s Dreamville festival lineup is amazing and it promises to be the biggest event yet!

Usher, Drake, and Burna Boy along with J. Cole is headlining the event. Usher will headline on Saturday (April 1), while Drake and J. Cole’s joint set will headline on Sunday (April 2). In total, 27 Dreamville artists will take to the two stages. This year’s full lineup is:

Saturday April 1:

  • Usher
  • Lil Durk
  • Ari Lennox
  • City Girls
  • Sean Paul
  • Earthgang
  • Jessie Reyez
  • Key Glock
  • SiR
  • Lute
  • Omen
  • Marqus Clae
  • Victony
J Cole on stage performing
Image credit: Simon Chasalow / @simonchasalow

Sunday April 2:

  • Drake + J. Cole
  • Burna Boy
  • Summer Walker
  • J.I.D
  • Glorilla
  • Bas
  • Waka Flocka Flame
  • Mario
  • Ayra Starr
  • Baby Tate
  • Cozz
  • Jordan Ward
  • Reuben Vincent

Download the full schedule lineup of who is playing at what times. Download the festival app for iPhone and Google Play.

Tickets to Dreamville Festival Raleigh

Fans at a music festival
Image credit: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

Update: All tickets for Dreamville 2023 are sold out. Festival tickets are always in high demand for the increasingly popular Dreamville Fest, and pre-sale tickets were already sold out in November of 2022 before the lineup was dropped in early March.

And that demand skyrocketed once Usher + Drake were announced as headline acts and the festival is now completely sold out. 

NOTE: The only way to get tickets now is by the Verified Exchange resale tickets through Ticketmaster.

How much are Dreamville tickets usually? This years prices were:

  • General Admission (GA) from $299.99. 
  • GA + Admission from $549.99
  • VIP JP from $749.99
  • VIP Varsity from $999.99
  • VIP MVP from $1499.99

Livestream on Amazon Music

Good news. If you were unable to secure tickets, you can still watch a livestream of Dreamville Fest 2023 from 2pm each day exclusively via Amazon Music.

The livestream will be hosted by music journalist and “Rotation Roundtable” host Rob Markman, Gia Peppers and hip-hop industry veteran Wayno. Fans will be able to tune in to the Amazon Music channel on Twitch and Prime Video.

Gate Opening Times

Entrance gates at Dix Park to the festival open at noon on Saturday and Sunday, with performances starting at 1pm on both days. Keep in mind that security checkpoints at both entrance gates could take a while depending on your arrival time!

The are two entrance gates, a West Entrance (off Barbour Dr./Blair Dr.) and an East Entrance (off Umstead Dr./Hunt Dr.) Here is a map.

How many people go to Dreamville?

Singer on stage at a music festival
Image credit: Simon Chasalow / @simonchasalow

The first year of Dreamville the festival drew 40,000 fans over one day. The expanded two-day event this year has an increase in capacity to 50,000 fans each!

For context, last year more than 80% of tickets were sold to fans outside the region, with attendees from all 50 states and twenty different countries. It just goes to show how popular this festival has become.

Parking + Getting to Dorothea Dix Park

Man sitting in an orange colored car with door open and surrounded by flowers
Image credit:: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

I’m the first to admit that Raleigh is not known for their public transport system, Raleigh is predominantly a driving city, and getting around Raleigh typically involves either driving, calling Uber or Lyft, biking or walking, or taking the GoRaleigh bus service.

Shuttles from downtown Raleigh to Dreamville Fest

There are official shuttles to the festival from downtown Raleigh:

Your DOWNTOWN SHUTTLE pass is good for the entire weekend and covers you for trips to/from the Fest each day (you only need to purchase one pass!)

The DOWNTOWN SHUTTLES will run non-stop continuous service from 10:00am (2 hours before gates officially open each day) until 1:00am (2+ hours after the end of the Festival each night).

Parking at Dorothea Dix Park

You can also park at the festival at Dix Park. Gate information locations at Dix Park haven’t been released yet, but in the past there were two entrances for the festival, one on Umstead Rd, the second off Blair Dr.

Like any large festival, get there early and pack your patience for getting in and out of the designated car parking spots. To get to the parking location:

Parking in NC State University Parking Decks 

Crowd of people at a large outdoor music festival
Image credit:: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

NC State University is within walking distance to Dorothea Dix Park. There are three campus, North, Central and Centennial and walking distance varies depending on the campus and location of the parking deck. 

Visitor parking is available and free on weekends. Central and Centennial Campus are nearest to Dix Park. Visitors are encouraged to use one of the designated visitor pay lots located throughout campus. Hourly rates apply.

See all the parking decks and important information here. 

Walking from downtown Raleigh

There are over 70 places to park in Downtown Raleigh. You have the option of parking at one of the many parking decks in downtown Raleigh and walking to the festival. And here is a list of accessible parking spaces

Note: Motorcycles are not allowed to use parking decks. Instead, motorcyclists are encouraged to use the City’s public surface parking lots where payment is made at the pay station.

Be safe when walking, stick to sidewalks where possible, and I’m sure there will be large crowds to follow who you can walk with to and from.

Walking times to the festival location at the Big Field within Dix Park from the following locations are approximately:

Street Parking around Raleigh

Singer on stage performing at night at a music festival
Image credit: Simon Chasalow / @simonchasalow

Street parking in Raleigh is free on the weekends. From Monday – Friday you have to pay from 8am-8pm (Hillsborough St corridor), and from 8am-6pm in the Fayetteville Street Corridor and Glenwood South Corridor. 

Here is how to use Raleigh’s parking pay stations and you can pay with the Passport Parking App.

Neighborhood parking near Dix Park

The closest residential neighborhood to Dix Park with street parking would be Boylan Heights (15 minute walk), and the Warehouse District (30 minutes). Keep in mind they have limited spaces, get there early.

Uber & Lyft

Like with any big festival or major sporting event, getting to and from the Dreamville Festival using Uber or Lyft could be a nightmare and expensive with price surges. It wouldn’t be my first choice! 

NOTE: You will get dropped off at designated drop off / pick up zones, located on either side of Dorothea Dix Park, within very short walking distance of the Dreamville venue entrances! You’ll be able to get picked up from the same locations after the event.

Take the Train

Raleigh Union Station is only two miles from Dorothea Dix Park (where Dreamville Fest is being held). Downtown hotels are also just blocks away! For schedules and more information visit ncbytrain.org or call 1-800-BY-TRAIN.

Dreamville Festival Attendees Can Save 25% off Tickets for NC By Train. USE DISCOUNT CODE V681 FOR 25% off!

Accommodation near Dix Park

Singer on stage at a music festival
Image credit:: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

Because the festival has sold out, accommodation near Dix Park and hotels in downtown Raleigh have also either sold out or are at a premium. NOTE: I still see rooms available at Best Western Plus Crabtree Valley Hotel (hurry).

Anything downtown Raleigh, Glenwood South and towards NC State University are the best options for Dreamville festival hotels. You will have well lit paths and most people from the festival will head in those directions after the festival for more nightlife etc. Glenwood South is the main bar and entertainment district.

The StateView Hotel on NC State’s Centennial Campus is still available during my search at time of publishing on March 7 and is a 30-minute walk away.

stateview hotel raleigh
StateView Hotel

Raleigh is fairly spread out but you can pretty much drive anywhere within 20-minutes and besides downtown hotels you could also look at areas close to downtown Raleigh such as Glenwood South (main bar district), Crabtree Valley, and North Hills. 

And even other nearby towns if need be although that means driving into the city. Consider:

  • Cary (approx 15-20-minute drive)
  • Garner (approx 10-15 minute drive)
  • Morrisville (approx 20-minute drive)
  • Apex (approx 20-25 minute drive)
  • If you are flying in, there are always hotels near the airport
  • Durham is the next biggest city near Raleigh and a 30-minute drive, but if you get desperate it is an option!

And besides hotels, you can of course look for apartments in Raleigh or vacation rentals on VRBO and Airbnb. 


Four singers on stage at a music festival
Image credit:: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

What is the bag policy?

  • ALL bags will be searched before entry.
  • Small clutch purses and fanny packs that are 6″ x 9″ or smaller do not need to be clear, but can have no more than one pocket.
  • All other bags larger than 6″ x 9″ must be smaller than 12″ x 6″ x 12″ and clear.
  • Hydration packs are allowed and do not need to be clear, but must be emptied of all liquid and have no more than two pockets in addition to the one holding the water reservoir.
  • Cameras (basic point and shoot consumer-grade cameras) without detachable lenses are allowed. Other accessories (monopods, selfie sticks, tripods, GoPro mounts, and other attachments are not allowed)
  • See the full list of allowed and prohibited items.

Ticket and Wristband Policy

  • All orders processed up to two weeks before the festival will be mailed
  • Orders processed closer to the festival dates will be available at Will Call pick-up. (ring a valid Photo ID and receipt confirmation to pick-up at Box Office)
  • All sales are FINAL – no refunds and no exchanges.
  • If you purchased from an unauthorized source and/or the ticket is counterfeit, you will not be allowed entry.
  • Wristbands MUST be worn securely on wrist for entry into the Festival and cannot be slipped on and off.
  • Wristbands must be scanned upon exit at the gate in order to re-enter that same day.
  • If your wristband has been lost, stolen, or damaged, visit the Festival Box Office or Wristband Assistance Tent before entering the festival. There is a $20 wristband replacement fee.
  • YES, wristband activation is required for entry. Click HERE to activate your wristband.
Male singer performing on stage
Image credit: Greg Noire / @gregnoire

Lockers to rent?

Yes, you can rent lockers for the Dreamville Raleigh so you don’t have to carry all your belongings all weekend. 

Charging lockers provide a place for you and your friends to store the merch you just scored, jackets, bags, etc – as well as provide a secure place to charge phones, battery banks and more! 

  • Large lockers measure 11” wide, 13.5” high, 18” deep. 
  • Medium lockers measure 11” wide, 8” high, 18” deep. 
  • Each locker includes one 3 in 1 USB charging cable – features type C, lighting  (apple) and micro USB connectors. 
  • You will have unlimited access to your locker during festival hours.
  • Learn more about lockers and prices here.

Do you have a place to charge phones on site?

Yes! As mentioned above, there are lockers that you can rent on site to charge your phone. 

Will there be water stations?

Black female singer on stage performing
Image credit:: Julian Bajsel / @jbajsel

Dreamville Festival Raleigh will offer multiple free water refilling stations. You are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles or camelbacks, just be sure to have them empty upon entry. There will also be water and other non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase at the bar.

Can I bring alcohol to Dreamville?

No outside alcohol. It will be for sale at the venue. 

Can I bring a child to the festival? How old do you have to be to go to Dreamville Festival? 

There are no age restrictions for Dreamville Festival, however children 7+ will require a ticket. Children (6 and under) receive free entry with a ticketed adult. A ticketed adult can bring up to 2 children that are 6 and under for free. All patrons, including children 6 and under, will be required to wear a wristband. 

Can I bring my pet?

Dreamville Festival has a strict no-pet policy, with exceptions only for service animals as specified by federal and state law. All service animals must be registered at the entrance gates. 

Accessible Viewing Areas

There will be accessible viewing areas made available to ADA patrons at designated stages. For more information on how to gain access to these areas, learn more via the Accessibility Services Hub.

Top Tips

Two women taking a selfie underneath a colorful roof
Image credit: Greg Noire / @gregnoire
  1. Wear good comfortable shoes! There is lots of standing and walking especially if you walk to the festival from downtown Raleigh!
  2. Check the current weather regarding clothing choices!
  3. Drink lots of water to avoid leg cramps.
  4. Food truck lines can have super long wait times, especially at lunch and dinner dinner. Go earlier and buy food that can sit in my bag for a little while like a wrap or sandwich.
  5. Eet a big meal before heading to the festival (tips on Raleigh restaurants down below)
  6. Bring an empty water bottle so you can fill up at the water stations.
  7. If you want to do other activities like photo booths, arrive early in the day. 
  8. Dreamville merch shops can have really long lines (arrive early)
  9. Lockers can be hard to get, so don’t bring too much extra stuff.
  10. Be mindful of alcohol consumption (and other substances) – you’ve paid a lot of money, you want to remember it. 

Pre-Parties + Events

On Friday, March 31 there is a kick-off party to Dreamville Fest at Union Station Plaza from 1-8pm hosted by Charlotte’s Lute’s Gold Mouf Garage withperformances by Shame Gang, Sonny Miles, Jewels with DJs Skillz, Paradime, Lil Vegas, plus classic European automobiles, food vendors and a bar.

House of Art also has a pop-up bar event from 7pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. CAM Raleigh will celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop with an all-day event from 12pm-10pm on Friday, March 31. See all events.

Pop-Up Shop

There is a pop-up shop in downtown Raleigh at 207 S West St, Raleigh from 12pm-7pm (close to Union Station). This is a new apparel collection release ahead of the festival. Wed 29 – Fri 31.

Places to Eat, Drink and Shop in Raleigh

big boy buger the pit raleigh
Big Boy Burger at The Pit BBQ

Looking for things to do in Raleigh outside of Dreamville Fest? Raleigh is a great city and has evolved a ton in recent years regarding the food, brewery, and bar scene. 

Eat in Raleigh

Drink in Raleigh

Shopping in Raleigh

There you have it. All you need to know for the Dreamville Music Festival in 2023. If you have any questions, leave them below in the comment. And, if you have any of your own tips please share them too! Hope to see you there! 

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