Rock in Rio Comes Home

August 30, 2011 by

Festivals & Events, Things To Do

The biggest music festival in the world, Rock in Rio, Cidade do Rock is returning home. The past four incarnations of this mega festa have been held in Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain, but this year,  for the first time since 2001, the festival comes back to Rio de Janeiro. More than 150 artists will appear over the course of the concert, which runs from September 23 to October 2 (an extra day was added due to popular demand—by both fans and musicians).

Crowd at Rock in Rio Festival - Photo courtesy of

Headliners will appear on the magnificent Palco Mundo (World Stage), including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chile Peppers, Maná, Coldplay, Shakira, Metallica, and many, many other international superstars. Top Brazilian artists gracing the Palco Mundo include Latin Grammy-winner Ivete Sangalo and multiple-platinum rockers Legião Urbana, performing with none other than the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira.

A second stage, the Palco Sunset (Sunset Stage) will host acts that are only considered second-tier at a gathering of like this one. These including some of South America’s most popular bands, as well as hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaata, Joss Stone, and this year’s supergroup, the Punk Metal All Stars, featuring the Dead Kennedys’ guitarist East Bay Ray, Misfits’ former singer Michael Graves, guitarist Gary Holt of Exodus, and Destruction’s bassist Marcel Schmier.

Other artists will perform at the Tenda Eletrônica (Electronica Zone) and “Rock Street,” an outdoor venue inspired by New Orleans’ French Quarter.

The first Rock in Rio concert was held in 1975, in front of a crowd of some 1.5 million people, quite possibly the biggest music event in history. There have been six subsequent megaconcerts, attended by some 5 million people; more than a billion more, in 80 countries, have watched via satellite, enjoying more than 780 hours of music performed by 656 live bands. If you’re curious about what went on backstage, check out Luis Felipe Carneiro’s new book, Rock in Rio: The History of the Biggest Music Festival in the World.

Tickets are still available online for 190/95 reais (US$117/60) for a full/half day; some shows are sold out but you can still find pricier tickets on time. And remember that this is the biggest gathering of musical talent in the world; expect awesome shows all over town. Even better, organizer Roberto Medina is so pleased by Rio’s transformation into a world-class city with excellent security that he has already announced that “fans can expect that in 2013 there is a new edition of the festival here.”

- Paige

Planning a Trip? Browse Viator’s Rio de Janeiro tours and things to do, Rio de Janeiro attractions, and Rio de Janeiro travel recommendations. Or book a private tour guide in Rio de Janeiro for a customized tour!

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