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By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Although Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival blocos (street parties) are not due to officially start until February 4th this year, Circo Voador will launch the 2017 season early. From 10PM on Thursday, January 19th, the concert venue will welcome this year’s Carnival season with a show from eleven of Rio’s most famous bloco groups.

Simpatia É Quase Amor in Ipanema, Carnival, 2017, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News
The mega-bloco Simpatia É Quase Amor will perform at Lapa’s Circo Voador this weekend, photo Fernando Maia/Riotur.

The event, ‘Grito de Carnaval dos Blocos da Sebastiana e Zé Pereira’, will see rodas de samba from blocos Suvaco do Cristo, Simpatia É Quase Amor, Quizomba and Ceu na Terra take to Circo Voador’s stage.

The event is a first-time partnership between two bloco collectives, the Liga Carnavalesca Amigos do Zé Pereira and the Independent Carnival Block Association of Zona Sul (South Zone), Santa Teresa and Centro de Cidade de Rio de Janeiro (Sebastiana).

Sebastiana president Rita Fernandes and Amigos do Zé Pereira League president Rodrigo Rezende told EBC that union between the bloco collectives has been formed this year to help blocos raise funds as their popularity grows.

The pair argued that while blocos traditionally survived by selling t-shirts and beer, this is no longer sufficient, and that that the blocos are as much a part of Carnival as the Sambadrómo parade competition

Rezende proposes that the tax collected by hotels, bars and restaurants during Carnival should be shared with the blocos, not just the samba schools.

“We who make the street carnival in Rio bring 5.5 million revelers that generate this revenue,” he said. “Our idea is that a call for proposals be made directly to street blocos, in a much more plural way.”

Other Sebastiana blocos participating in Thursday’s Circo Voador event are Bloco do Barbas, Carmelitas, Imprensa Que Eu Gamo, Meu Bem Volto Já, Escravos da Mauá, Gigantes da Lira, Que Merda É Essa, Bloco da Ansiedade e Virtual. Amigos do Zé will also present bloco groups Orquestra Voadora, A Rocha, Vagalume, Laranjada, Toca Rauuul! and Último Gole.

What: Grito de Carnaval dos Blocos da Sebastiana e Zé Pereira
When: 10PM, Thursday January 19th
Where: Circo Voador
Cost: R$60 – R$80, or half price for those under 21 years old, over sixty years old or with student ID. Tickets may be purchased in person at Circo Voador’s ticket office or online.

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