Businesses and Raleigh eagerly prep for return of Dreamville festival

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The highly anticipated Dreamville music festival returns to Dorothea Dix Park this weekend.

After a three-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Raleigh and its businesses are eager to again host the event.

"The lines were long. We stayed busy around the clock, but it was very exciting at the same time because I can't remember in Raleigh, any event being this large coming to Dorothea Dix Park, and we were a part of it," said Tracy Marsella, FatBoys Kitchen general manager.

Fatboys Kitchen was selected for the second time to serve food inside the venue. The Raleigh-based business has been shopping throughout the past week to prepare to serve tens of thousands of people.

"We're so excited this year because as you recall, during COVID, all the major events were shut down and we lost over 50% of revenue," Marsella explained. "So for the Dreamville Festival to come back in 2022, we're excited because we get to earn more revenue this year."

Businesses working inside the park aren't the only one's looking to benefit from tourists this weekend.



Forty-thousand people attended the festival in 2019 with 80% of the attendees coming from outside of Wake County.

Kyler Evans is one of the thousands of people who will be traveling to Raleigh this weekend. Evans' Greensboro-based business, Vybez Kitchen, was also selected as one of the festival vendors.

"It's gonna be life-changing for my business, honestly. It's gonna definitely change my business. Take my business to the next scale," Evans said. "I've been working very hard so this is like something very big for me."

He and ten of his workers will be staying in hotels for four nights.

"The event is one of the biggest festivals so why not travel?" He said. "Everything is going to be worth it in the end."

Hotels in the area reported a record 97% occupancy rate the last time the festival was held. The city estimated the event generated nearly $4 million from tourist spending.

This year the event is adding a second day, which many hope will further increase the revenue brought into the City of Oaks.

The increase in tourists also brings some concern for residents living near Dorothea Dix Park.

Beth Lunsford lives across the street from the park and said neighbors did have a concern about attendees parking in their neighborhood in 2019 but don't remember it becoming a big issue.

"I think the important thing is that it not go beyond the cutoff time at night because stuff can carry acoustically from Dix over to here depending on the weather and all kinds of circumstances. So that would be a concern. And I guess the other thing would be that the site itself still be in good shape afterward," Lunsford said.

City officials said Dreamville made a commitment to ensure the park doesn't experience any damages. The festival hired a landscaping company after the 2019 event. The festival organizers have also been in communication with nearby residents about noise impacts.



Overall, Lunsford said she is not too concerned about the effects of the festival.

"We've had big events of all kinds around this neighborhood ... marathons and all kinds of things and they always seem to have their planning put together," she said.

On Monday, city officials stressed traffic is one of their top concerns.

"We're going to try to minimize the traffic impact and try to lessen the amount that the surrounding community is impacted, but 40,000 people, there's no way that we're going to totally eliminate traffic backup," explained Raleigh Police Captain Dedric Bond.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office and Capitol Police will aid Raleigh officers in traffic control and general security throughout the weekend.

Bond said officers will be manually working some intersections. He urged people to take different exits and avoid Western Boulevard.

"If you're on our I-40 West take the Lake Wheeler Rd. Exit, exit 297. If you're on I-40 East take the Gorman Street exit which is 295 and that way we have people coming from two different directions instead of everybody trying to come at one single exit," Bond explained.

Officers are hoping to get people away from the area once the festival ends will go smoother this year because they added another ride-share location.

Bond reminded residents that portions of Centennial Parkway will be closed a little before 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to assist with traffic exiting the venue.

In addition to traffic, Raleigh police said they have plans to respond to any safety concerns inside the venue.

"We do have a contingency in place from a law enforcement perspective and from a medical perspective, we do have a contingency in place to address those issues on the onset, that those type of behaviors are observed so that we hope to address it immediately," Bond said.

Residents and attendees can also sign up for emergency alerts by texting "Dreamville" to 888777.

For more questions about attending the event, including what you can bring and schedules visit Dreamville's FAQ page.
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