By Felicity Clarke, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – After a ten year absence from it’s city of origin, it was announced last week that Rock in Rio will return to Brazil in the Autumn of 2011. Next year, from September 23rd to October 2nd, the iconic festival that saw its first edition back in 1985 will return to Rio to be hosted in the new Parque Olímpico Cidade do Rock, on the edge of Jacarepaguá Lake in the West Zone of the city.
The brainchild of Brazilian businessman Roberto Medina, there have been a total of nine Rock in Rio festivals since the original: three in Brazil (in 1985, 1991 and 2001), four in Portugal (in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010) and two in Spain (in 2008 and 2010).
Speaking at a press conference last Monday, Medina said “I’m coming with the same thrill of the first edition. Before being Brazilian, I’m Carioca and this place is what gave me everything I have today”.
The site for the 2011 Rock in Rio will be the new Parque Olímpico Cidade do Rock (Rock City Olympic Park), in Jacarepaguá. The 150,000 square meter park is also planned as an important leisure facility for athletes and visitors during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
“This is an obligation we have with the Olympics and that will move forward to the event. We will invest USD$40 million in the project and the works will last approximately nine months” said Rio mayor Eduardo Paes.
With an expected attendance of around 720,000 music fans, Rock in Rio 4 is looking to stage an international spectacular with over 100 attractions. Previous festivals have brought international superstars such as Queen, Guns N’ Roses, Prince and R.E.M. to Rio and speculation surrounding the 2011 line up includes talk of some of the biggest names in pop and rock with invited artists rumored to include Shakira, Lady Gaga, Radiohead and Metallica.
For the fourth Rock in Rio the park, which will be open from 3PM to 4AM each day, will host other attractions such as a zip line, ferris wheel, fashion space and ‘Rock Street’ with thirty restaurants, bars and shops.
Eduardo Paes explained that the decision to hold the festival in the Autumn also took into account Rio’s events calendar. “It’s a time of year that lacks events in Rio, lacks attractions for tourists” he said. “The city’s a little slow… This is an event that economically stimulates a lot of sectors. In summer, when the previous editions have taken place, this already happens in Rio.”
The agreement between Medina and Paes is that there will be three Rock in Rio festivals at intervals of two years, securing the return of the city’s most famous music festival export to it’s home turf for several years to come. Tickets are expected to cost between R$90 and R$180.