By Kim Dumo, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The final countdown to Rio de Janeiro’s Rock in Rio have arrived and the city is preparing for this massive annual festival, starting September 23rd with seven days of music over nine days, ending October 2nd. It is scheduled to take place in Cidade do Rock (City of Rock) in Olympic Park and plans to host over 600,000 spectators, including Cariocas young and old, as well as Brazilians and foreigners from around the world.
The festival lineup will be headlined by the likes of: Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Shakira, Coldplay and Guns N’ Roses. Not only are these major attractions anticipated with ecstatic fanfare, this year also introduces the innovative Rock Street, even featuring local expat Jazz performers from Rio.
Another new element launched this year is an anti-drug campaign called ‘Eu vou sem drogas (I am going without drugs)’. Youtube videos are currently streaming with the festival’s theme song against drugs featuring some of Brazil’s famous artists: Toni Garido, Claudia Leitte, and Eduardo Falachi. Rock in Rio hopes that many of its attendees will be apart of the fight against drug abuse.
As part of transportation plan for Rock in Rio, fifteen roadways will be shut down to prevent traffic with a special bus system in place. The President of Riotur, Antonio Pedro Figueira de Mello quoted, “Do not go by car”, as there will be no onsite parking. Provisions have been made to reroute over nine hundred bus lines to take concertgoers to and fro the City of Rock.
These provisions however, have caused controversy with the local residence of Barra de Tijuca. A local resident was quoted by saying, “Many good things have been said about the transportation for the festival but people are forgetting that the people who live around the area depend on public transportation to go to work during the days of the event.”
Although, this major traffic shift has commuters in a dilemma, there are still thousands anxiously awaiting their arrival to the Rock in Rio concert. An expatriate from New York new to Rio describes, “Ever since I came here in February, Rock in Rio has been THE topic of conversation. Now that it’s near, I can’t wait to see what Rio has put together! I’m really looking forward to it.”
As the beginning of the festival approaches, a lot of people are wondering, what happened to Jay Z? Reports state that due to an altercation regarding the singer Prince’s cancellation with the Back2Black Festival, Jay Z is cancelling his appearance for the Saturday night lineup.
It is an unfortunate loss for those attending who were eager for his performance, but Maroon 5 has replaced Jay Z and Coldplay has become the new Saturday night headlining act. There are so many different appearances, performances, and events within the grounds of the City of Rock that the countdown has been long overdue for those going. Rock in Rio Festival begins on September 23rd, for more information see their web site.