A Celebration Of Music, Community And Local Area Artists

By: Dominique Heath, Columnist

Dreamville Festival is not just a musical event, but a celebration of local businesses and artists. The festival, organized by J Cole and his Dreamville team, has become the world’s largest artist-led music festival, and one of the most powerful brands in the music industry. Each year, the festival brings together residents of Raleigh and international travelers to experience a weekend celebration filled with attractions, carnival rides, immersive art installations, and dozens of local vendors and artisans from the Raleigh region.

At its core, Dreamville incorporates local vendors and artisans from Wake County, showcasing over 50 food stalls daily, immersive art installations, carnival rides, and an array of attractions. Among these vendors, Vybez Kitchen, a fusion Jamaican restaurant, carved a niche for itself with its innovative approach to traditional Jamaican cuisine. Founded during a challenging quarantine period, this venture blossomed from Instagram tutorials to a thriving ghost kitchen in Greensboro, emphasizing exceptional service and a unique culinary fusion that distinguishes it from conventional Jamaican eateries.

Vybez Kitchen at Dreamville
Vybez Kitchen at Dreamville

Vybez Kitchen’s popularity soared as it was announced as one of the dream vendors at the festival. Its presence at the RISE stage and VIP area near the sign stage offered a splendid opportunity to engage a new audience, further enhanced by Dreamville’s spirited promotion on social media platforms. The festival’s emphasis on local talent was not confined to culinary skills alone.

The art scene at Dreamville vividly reflected the richness of North Carolina’s talent pool. Seven murals, meticulously crafted by local artists, adorned the festival’s landscape, creating a visual feast that complemented the auditory bliss. Among these, the story of Na’iim Shareef stands out – an Atlanta-based artist whose mural for Dreamville marked a pivotal moment in his career. Na’iim’s journey to Dreamville, sparked by a timely commercial and propelled by his passion, led him to be selected from hundreds of applicants to create a beautiful mural that stood at the entrance.

Na’iim’s mural was a hit at the festival, serving as a vibrant backdrop that celebrated the blend of different forms of art he loves. It was his heartfelt tribute to the music of J. Cole and other artists performing at Dreamville, intertwined with the dynamic and colorful world of anime that he adores. This mural wasn’t just about creating something cool to look at; it was Shareef’s personal expression of his passions, artfully combining music and anime into a visual feast for festival-goers.

Na’iiam Shareef’s Mural at Dreamville
Na’iiam Shareef’s Mural at Dreamville

Through Dreamville Festival, Shareef’s work reached a broader audience, marking a significant step in his career and showcasing the festival’s role in fostering artists’ growth. The event wasn’t just a fun music festival; it was a place where the local community and artists like Na’iim could connect, grow, and share their talents with the world.

This year’s Dreamville Festival marked another successful year, epitomizing a harmonious blend of eclectic music performances, local restaurants, and artistry. From the culinary delights of Vybez Kitchen to the stirring visuals courtesy of artists like Na’iim Shareef, the festival emerged as a beacon of community spirit, creativity, and local pride for rap and hip-hop culture. It is a dynamic platform where artists, regardless of their domain, come together to share their passion with a wide audience, highlighting the magnetic allure of Dreamville as more than just a festival - it is a vibrant, living mosaic of culture, talent, and communal joy.

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