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By Katya Gubarev, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Only a few weeks after commemorating its 26th birthday, Rock in Rio gets another reason to celebrate.  On January 28th, the Itaú bank became the ‘master’ sponsor of the mega music festival. “This closes the sale of sponsorships,” confirms Rodolfo Medina, a vice-president of Rock in Rio.

Olympic Park of Rock plan for Jacarepaguá, image provided by Rock in Rio.

“We are very happy to have the Itaú as our main sponsor. The brand gives more weight to the return of the festival back to Brazil,” he says.

Among the recently confirmed features of the music festival are national and international celebrities like Claudia Leitte, NX Zero, Elton John, Coldplay, Metallica, Katy Perry and Rihanna.

Roberta Medina, the vice-president responsible for strategic communication, design and environmental responsibility, says that artist selection is done through extensive market research to understand the public’s expectations of each of the artists.

Also, to help make decision of whom to invite, information is gathered through networks with partner music companies and radio stations. “To decide on the mix between local and foreign musicians, the only criterion is what the public wants and how the artist profiles work for large masses. We’re talking about a daily capacity of 100,000 people at Rock City,” Roberta Medina explains.

Rihanna in concert on November 1st 2008, photo by Gemma Mary/Wikimedia Creative Commons License.

When Rock in Rio was born in 1985, the total attendance was 1.38 million over ten days. This year, the number is expected to be more than 600,000 people over a span of six days.

The public will receive some surprises, like the Sunset Stage and the Rock Street, where Jazz music and street art will happen for first time in the event’s history.

The idea of the new Sunset stage is to express artistic freedom. This area of the Rock in Rio setup will be for meetings of established artists and some of the most praised new names in music from around the world.

With four shows per day, some of the line-up has already been announced: Marcelo Camelo, Sky, Arnaldo Antunes, Erasmo Carlos, Citizen Instigado, Tulipa Ruiz,Tiê Letier Milk, Orkestra Rumpillez, Sepultura and Angra.

In the words of Zé Ricardo, musician and artistic director of the stage, “on the Sunset, the artist has complete freedom to dare and realize an old dream of sharing the stage with a particular colleague.”

Tickets for the event are selling fast, even though the prices start at R$90. “I already got my ticket,” shares Rafael de Castro, who has been twice in the past, “because things like this always sell out and I want to see all the attractions at least for one day. It’s like going to an amusement park with great live music.”

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