Rio de Janeiro, Sep 1 (EFE).- Around 700,000 fans have scooped up tickets to see iconic bands such as Guns N’ Roses and Iron Maiden perform at the sold-out Rock in Rio event, which kicks off Friday in this southeastern Brazilian metropolis.
Some 250 concerts are scheduled over seven days in the latest edition of the world’s largest music festival, which over the years also has been held in Lisbon, Madrid and Las Vegas and is returning to Brazil after a Covid-19 hiatus.
After the pandemic forced organizers to postpone Rock in Rio editions scheduled for Lisbon in 2020 and 2021 and for Rio last year, the festival – now in its ninth edition in Brazil and 22nd worldwide – is back in the city where it all began in 1985.
Musical marathons are scheduled from Friday, Sept. 2, to Sunday, Sept. 4, and from Thursday, Sept. 8, to Sunday, Sept. 11, highlighted by Iron Maiden, Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses, Green Day, Coldplay and Dua Lipa.
The festival starts on a heavy note with metal bands such as Brazil’s own Sepultura, as well as France’s Gojira, the UK’s Iron Maiden and New York-based Dream Theater.
It will end nine days later with a line-up of pop artists taking the stage at the Palco Mundo: English singer-songwriter Dua Lipa, American rapper Megan Thee Stallion, British singer-songwriter Rita Ora and Brazilian singer-songwriter Ivete Sangalo.
A total of 100,000 fans are expected on each day of the festival, which will feature 507 hours of concerts by 670 recording artists, as well as several theme park attractions and rides: two roller coasters, a giant Ferris wheel, a controlled free-fall elevator ride and a zipline that passes just in front of the main stage.
To justify its promise that this year’s edition will be the biggest and best ever, organizers have expanded the “City of Rock” to 350,000 square meters in a bid to reduce crowds at each of the different attractions.
That expansion also is aimed at heading off protests at an event that coincides with the most polarized presidential election campaign in Brazilian history.
“There will be no space (for protests). The reunion (of spectators) after the pandemic is bigger than any discord. Music doesn’t take sides. Music isn’t going to fix a fractured Brazil, but it will help mitigate (the situation) and guarantee a moment of respite for all sides,” the president of Rock in Rio, Roberto Medina, said.
The festival – held since 2017 at Rio’s Olympic Park, built for the 2016 Games – will use different sports facilities as venues for its parallel attractions.
Arena 2 has been converted into a giant theater for the 25-minute musical show “Uirapuru,” which will be performed four times daily and tell the story of a magical Amazon bird that grants the wishes of those who hear its song.
That Broadway-caliber show’s highlights include a giant waterfall with 200,000 liters of water flowing per hour.
And a project known as NAVE, which combines audiovisual experiences and musical presentations to underscore the Amazon’s environmental importance, has been installed in Arena 3.
Besides Palco Mundo, another stage known as Palco Sunset will showcase the biggest stars of Brazilian hip-hop such as Racionais MC’s, Emicida and Criolo.
Another stage, Espaco Favela, will be a venue for concerts by funk, rap and trap artists who have emerged from Brazil’s poorest communities.
This year’s edition of the festival’s traditional Rock Street will be dedicated to Spain and Portugal, which will provide Rock and Rio attendees a sampling of their music and gastronomy. EFE