Despite a 3-hour weather delay on day 1, the 2023 Dreamville Festival still delivered a top-notch experience for eager fans looking to hear their favorite artists in person. Held from April 1, 2023 to April 2, 2023 at Raleigh, North Carolina's Dorthea Dix Park—also the home state of Dreamville lead man, J. Cole, the 2-day outdoor event kicked off on a high note.

With close to 100,000 people in attendance, the grounds were filled with all hues of melanin decked out in everything from neon-colored spandex to trendy Black-owned designers and combat boots. There were also fun, creative installations and photos ops that were the perfect backdrops for new profile pictures.

EBONY was in attendance for the festivities, and we have the best moments from the weekend. Whether you were in attendance and want to reminisce, or you couldn't make it this year—here's a recap of the best things that went down during day 1 of the 2023 Dreamville Festival.

Dreamville festival attendees. Image: Cornell Watson for EBONY.

Reggae artist Sean Paul gets our waists whining

If you were around when Sean Paul had his reign, then you know he has hits. The reggae artist graced the Dreamville stage dropping his hottest songs including: Baby Boy featuring Beyoncé, Give it All to Me, and Gimme the Light. He was joined by a live band and a small group of background dancers that really brought the show together. Attendees could be seen singing along and whining their waists to the rhythms.

Sean Paul performs at 2023 Dreamville Festival. Image: Cornell Watson for EBONY.

Ari Lennox shines

Dreamville's soulful songstress, Ari Lennox, truly shined—literally. With her rich melanated skin covered in a body shimmer that looked like literal diamonds, she also wore a sexy silver two-piece set with stiletto heels. Rocking her natural curls, the Shea Butter Baby singer moved fans with her velvety vocals. Accompanied by a live band, even grown men could be heard singing her songs to the best of their ability–while also confessing their love for the Hoodie vocalist. To which she often replied, "wow, I love y'all too!"

Singer Ari Lennox during her Dreamville set. Image: Cornell Watson for EBONY.

Usher brings the nostalgia

If you've never seen Usher in concert, what are you waiting for? Mr. Raymond was the last act of day 1, and it was certainly worth the wait. Styled in a royal blue, tailored 2-piece pants set, the Atlanta singer took fans through a timeline of his award-winning discography. Flawlessly belting out songs like Nice and Slow, Confessions Part 2, and newer hits like Good Love—which he performed with the City Girls—the entire crowd could be heard singing at the top of their lungs. But, the highlight of his 2023 Dreamville Festival set was when the singer fooled fans into thinking he was bringing out Beyoncé to accompany him for a few songs—to which he confessed, "April Fools." In true Hey Daddy fashion, he eventually ended up shirtless, while giving us an extra, sensual performance of his latest single Glu.

Usher sings during 2023 Dreamville Festival. Image: Cornell Watson for EBONY.

Check out more exclusive images of day one of Dreamville Festival by photographer Cornell Watson for EBONY Media below.