Dreamville Festival got off to a rocky start Saturday after severe weather delayed the opening of the festival grounds by several hours. However, on Saturday, April 1st at 3pm, Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh opened up its gates to thousands of concertgoers. 

Houston native Marques Clae kicked off the live performances for the day, followed by SiR, EarthGang, City Girls, and Sean Paul. 

The day wasn’t without other hiccups as Toosii stepped in for Key Glock. Dreamville announced that the rapper’s flights were canceled and he could not make it. 

Day one headliner Usher made headlines not for his music, but for the April Fools joke he played on the crowd. The “Confessions” singer said he promised that he’d bring along a special guest, but decided to tease fans slightly given the holiday.

“You guys wanna know what that surprise is?” Usher asked the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, put your hands together for the one, the only Beyonce.”

The crowd immediately goes into a frenzy as no one comes out, let alone Beyonce. As anticipation kept building, finally he hits the crowd with the “April Fools.”

While he was totally joking about Beyonce, he did bring out special guests: City Girls. The duo came out and joined the R&B legend for a performance of their collaboration, “Good Love.”

The rest of Usher’s set was filled with his catalog of hits. The singer performed classics like “You Make Me Wanna,” “Love In This Club,” “Lovers And Friends,” “Nice And Slow,” and “Confessions.”

Day two saw performances from Waka Flocka Flame, Mario, and Burna Boy. Summer Walker brought out 6lack during her set for a few songs.

A medical emergency delayed headliner J. Cole by about 10 minutes. But once the situation was handled, the North Carolina native came out to “Who Dat.” The rest of Cole’s set was peppered with his many hits, including “Power Trip,” “Middle Child,” “GOMD,” “Wet Dreamz,” and more.

Cole showed crew love, bringing out Lute, BAS, JID, EarthGang, and Ari Lennox during his set. 

Mid-set, the lights cut off, and “Sicko Mode” began to play. When the lights came back on, Drake was on stage with J. Cole and performed his “Sicko Mode” verse before taking it all the way back with “Over,” much to the crowd’s delight. 

The Canadian rapper brought GloRilla out during his set for a performance of her “FNF” hit. Drake asked the crowd if they wanted more, which received loud cheers. Next, he delivered by bringing out Lil Uzi Vert. Drake performed a few more of his popular songs before surprising the crowd with Lil Wayne during “The Motto.”

Lil Wayne dug into his own catalog, starting with “Uproar” and launching into his classic, “A Milli.” Yet somehow, Drake wasn’t done with the surprises. On the very next song, 21 Savage came out to perform “Knife Talk” from the Certified Lover Boy album, before the superstars concluded with “Rich Flex.”

In a sweet moment, Drake asked the crowd to pay homage to J. Cole and had the DJ play Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.” The crowd loudly sang along for a great ending to Drake’s set. 

Cole ended the night with “No Role Modelz” just after 11pm.


Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash