'He supports local business' Dreamville headliner Usher stops in City Market, He's Not Here

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Tuesday, April 4, 2023
'He supports local business': Usher stops in City Market
This past weekend's Dreamville Festival is expected to generate 7.8 million dollars for the local economy.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The wildly popular Dreamville Festival brought almost 100,000 people to Raleigh.

The event is so much more than a concert, it's a big boost for the economy and there's a real focus on supporting small businesses.

The tourism department said roughly 40% of vendors selected are local, which means money stays in the community.

Last year, Dreamville brought in more than 5 million dollars in revenue.

The event this past weekend is expected to generate 7.8 million dollars.

Every hotel in downtown Raleigh was sold out.

A tourism official said rooms were taken a couple of hours after Drake, Usher and J. Cole were announced as headliners.

"We had a lot of people come from out of town which is great to see. I even had some people from Canada here to see Drake, come all the way, just to see him perform which is awesome."

The festival has pumped millions of dollars in Raleigh's economy from not only people went the festival, but also those who performed.

People were shocked Sunday afternoon when eight-time Grammy award-winning artist Usher showed up in City Market for a bite to eat.

Usher, who was one of the headlining act, went to Big Ed's Restaurant for a late brunch. He was seen greeting fans while wearing a Dreamville shirt.

Cam Goodson owns Reign salon across the street.

She says customers, who were getting manicures and pedicures, started jumping out of their chairs and rushing outside to see the superstar.

"It was awesome. I love the fact that he supports local businesses because you know he didn't have to come here," said Goodson.

Big Ed's General Manager Nicholas Culpepper says Usher and his crew shut the restaurant down, but not before offering to take a group photo with staff.

"(He was) very cordial, very nice. I just kind of left him alone and told him I appreciated him coming in," said Culpepper.

Both businesses are celebrating a big win.

Goodson says the festival has helped out a lot. Tons of out-of-town visitors came in for services.

"We were just so excited to be able to make people feel beautiful," said Goodson.

Big Ed's saw an uptick in sales. The restaurant averaged about 700 guests a day with Dreamville.

"This is our record weekend," said Culpepper. "Obviously, I'm very thankful."

It'll be a few weeks before we get the official numbers in on the economic impact.

Friday, the Dreamville kicked off, Usher was spotted at the 'He's Not Here' bar in Chapel Hill. Johntá Austin who works with Usher and graduated from UNC posted photos on his Instagram of the two outside the bar.