By Kim Dumo, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The nine-day cordial of music known as Rock in Rio has come to an end, and the final figures are staggering. It gathered 700,000 people at the City of Rock, and defended its title as one of the largest festivals of music in the world. Globally, an estimated seventy million people were affected by Rock in Rio’s pervasive circulation on the Internet, and some 200 countries watched the artists live on YouTube.
Guns N’ Roses had the honor of being the last performance of the 2011 festival, and it was their fourth time at Rock in Rio. One of the few complaints regarding the performance was their hour and a half tardy entrance to the stage, but all was forgotten when they warmed up the crowd with ‘Welcome to the Jungle.’
Also on the closing night, System of a Down blessed the crowd with a two hour roaring performance that left some over-energetic fans happily bloodied and bruised. “The mosh-pit was forty meters wide and filled with moshers,” Felipe Freitas said.
Rock in Rio isn’t all “rock” though, as there were many pop and alternative performers like Elton John, Rihanna, Shakira and Coldplay. Rihanna performed all of her chart topping hits while Shakira drew fans old and new. “My boyfriend’s cousin got tickets to see Shakira and he doesn’t even like her! I wish I was the one who was able to go,” concertgoer Kristina Peltin exclaimed.
Coldplay, known for their live show, proceeded to leave the crowd in awe while playing their greatest hits mixed with three unreleased songs. Attendee Ricardo Soares said, “Coldplay performed some songs from their new album, ‘Mylo Xyloto’, and even featured some vocals by Rihanna. It’s going to be great music and I’ll be sure to buy it!”
British expatiate living in Salvador Alexis Sheldon, CEO of Language Trainers, described the festival: “Amazing and doubly so considering I am in Brazil. Just very disappointed with the choice of alcohol and the whole chaos with the buses. But the stage and sound and lighting (the most important things) were perfect.”
As far as Coldplay, the show Sheldon made his way to Rio to see, he says, “Way beyond expectations, tremendous interaction with the crowds.”
Even with 100,000 spectators per day migrating to-and-fro the festival, the Rio de Janeiro municipality handled the crowds well by many accounts. The major complaints were that some concertgoers waited almost two hours for their bus ride to Rock in Rio.
People not attending also had gripes about the festival. “It took me three hours to get home from work and I only live in Copacabana,” Fanny Ulloa says.
The police presence kept the excited crowd under control and only minimally used their pepper spray, with a single shot of tear gas fired. With all this being said, only one percent of the crowd said they would not return to Rock in Rio for another festival.
The success of the nine-day concert event is what will bring it back to Rio de Janeiro in 2013. Sponsors have already invested, and organizers report that ticket sales will be limited to 85,000 per concert day.