By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – From the shores of Barra da Tijuca in Rio’s Zona Oeste (West Zone), all across the city to Zona Norte (North Zone), millions of people will come together to celebrate New Year’s Eve, or Réveillon, as the holiday is known in Brazil. While Copacabana Beach boasts the largest event without question, there are countless other options throughout the Cidade Maravilhosa.
Over two million people are expected to head to the shoreline of Copacabana for the “Rio 2” themed mega-event which will usher in the New Year with spectacular sixteen minutes of fireworks and a night full of musical performers, including will.i.am.
Many others will view the fireworks from cruise liners floating in the Atlantic waters or from higher ground in Rio’s favela parties at Alto Vidigal, Pavão-Pavãozinho and Gilda do Cantagalo, among others.
Down below at Flamengo Beach the separate celebrations there often draw many spectators. This year they will include performances by Grupo Lucidez, Baia, Galo Cantô, Michael Sullivan, DJ Marcelo Lyrio and samba from the percussion section of the São Clemente samba school.
With views of both Copacabana and Flamengo beaches, Rio’s landmark Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) in Urca will host Réveillon do Morro 2014. The catered event will feature live MPB (Popular Brazilian Music), soul music and samba performed by the bateria (drum section) of the Unidos da Tijuca samba school.
On the other side of Zona Sul, across the Lagoa, the Rio Reveillon 2014 celebrations at Gávea’s Jockey Club Brasileiro will include performances by DJs Cidinho and Raphael de Luca; Banda Groovebox; and the famous Rio Carnival bloco Monobloco.
On Ilha de Paquetá (Paqueta Island), where the Copacabana fireworks can be viewed and admission is free, DJ Rogério will start the celebrations at 7PM as O Samba Legal with the singer Reinaldo will follow to entertain the partygoers.
Also on Praia da Bica (Bica Beach) on Ilha do Governador (Governor’s Island) DJ Cocamar will start their party at 7:30 PM. The groups Estilo X and Pique Novo will follow and after a pause to welcome in 2014, Balacobaco will play. To close the event, members of the samba school União da Ilha will perform.
In Rio’s Zona Norte three major celebrations will take place. First, fireworks will be launched at midnight from the top of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha (Penha Church) located in the Rio neighborhood of Penha.
There, DJ Magal, Grupo Voz Ativa and Golden Boys will peform leading up to the fireworks launch and the group Nosso Sentimento and the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school will play after, during the first hours of 2014.
At Piscinão Ramos, MCs and DJs will play before midnight with the group Clareou playing as the first act after midnight followed by the percussion sections of the samba schools Salgueiro and Grande Rio.
Perhaps the largest in Zona Norte will be at the Parque de Madureira, DJ Tannys will start the party at 7PM followed by a Roda de Samba featuring singer Dorina and Marquinhos Sensação.
Meanwhile in Rio’s Zona Oeste, two stages will be set up at Sepetiba and Pedra de Guaratiba. On Recôncavo beach DJ Rafinha will kick things off at 7PM and pagode groups Coisa Séria and Disfarce will follow. Samba will welcome in the New Year as Imaginasamba plays first after midnight followed by members of samba school Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel closing the event.
Those who cannot be in Rio on New Year’s Eve this year needn’t worry. The Copacabana fireworks celebration can be seen from around the Western Hemisphere as the event will be broadcast live by Fox in South America and the United States. Check your local listings for times and channels.