By Raul Winson, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – On Carnival Tuesday (February 16th) an incongruous sound filled the streets of Ipanema as the Banda da Ipanema bloco in General Osório died down and in its place a thumping 4/4 beat reverberated off the buildings of Rua Vinícius de Moraes.
The Blue Agave hosted its inaugural carnival ‘bloco’ – or at least a gringo version of one – with an afternoon and evening of DJs spinning a variety of tunes to an ever-increasing crowd of revelers. By 9PM the entire section between Rua Prudente de Morais and Visconde de Pirajá had been reclaimed by hundreds of people and buses needed a police escort to get through.
“It was a hell of a lot of fun,” said organizer and DJ Karl Rodgers aka Doug Gray, “exactly what I had hoped it would be – a road full of people going crazy and enjoying something a little different musically to the traditional carnival sounds.”
Enlisting the support of San Franciscan DJ Mike Frugaletti, his wife Vivi Seixas, the daughter of Brazilian music legend Raul Seixas, and Londoner Dan Markham, the carnival crowd was never going to be a difficult one to please, but the combination of Brazilian beats, old school funk and a healthy dose of modern electronica certainly went down well with the masses.
“The first time I saw the Blue Agave I thought about carnival and the possibility of throwing a party there on the Tuesday. Having been just one road down on Farme De Amoedo at the same time for the last two years it was obvious there is always thousands of people roaming and looking for another place to dance,” said Doug.
Owners Rich Nelson and Jason Galeria took a bit of a gamble putting on the party having been open for just six months, but were happy with the way everything turned out. Rich said afterward of the event; “After talking to our staff and friends everyone convinced us we should do something special for the big Tuesday of Carnival.”
In fact the party started as an immediate success, and grew in numbers until ultimately the music had to end around 10:30PM. As bloco participant Alain Jean-Maurice Poulin affirms, it was a “fresh change from the standard bloco music and a crowd of what seemed to be comprised of only beautiful people.”
Rich Nelson goes on to explain; “We were a bit reluctant as Carnival has been plenty of work just running our regular business but we decided to put on the show and what ensued was complete chaos, but a hell of a party nonetheless – we definitely made a statement for our first Carnival here.”
“It’s the perfect spot, and though we had no idea how the police or Prefeitura (local government) might respond it didn’t seem to cause any big problems. Hell, its carnival!” Doug adds with a smile.
“Next year we can plan it better and execute more efficiently, but it was a great day and a great time had by those who came.” Rich reflects.
Photos from the event are on the Blue Agave Facebook page.