By Felicity Clarke, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A festival of music and cultural events across the city, Viradão Carioca, returns for its second year April 23rd-25th*, featuring Brazilian music stars including samba legend Jorge Ben Jor and hip hop star Marcelo D2.
Building on the strength of last year’s events, the festival is expanding for 2010 with two main stages in Praça XV in Centro and Rio das Pedras in West Zone, four other stages in Cinelândia, Leme, Praça do Ringue (Santa Cruz) and in Piscinão de Ramos as well as further stages in Penha, Mangeira and Lapa.
Beyond the outdoor stages, Viradão Carioca also includes a program of art, music, dance, film and theater events, cultural centers, squares, streets, libraries and churches across the city.
The main changes for 2010 are that this year all the events are free and the festival this year will be programming events in some of the city’s underprivileged communities (favelas), with stages in Rio das Pedra in Jacarepaguá, in Rio’s West Zone; Morro dos Prazeres in Santa Teresa; Tavares Bastos in Larajeniras in the South Zone, and Maré, in the suburb Bonsucesso.
Supported by the Rio Prefeitura, the festival is a large-scale celebration of culture with a specific aim to take it to the streets for all to enjoy. Speaking at a press conference for the event last week, Secretary of Culture Jendari Fegalhi said “Viradão is a great celebration. It reflects that our culture should be on the streets, being an axis of integration for people and promoting co-existence. It facilitates the city knowing itself as a single body, crossing the talents and cultural expressions of its regions.”
Geraldo Azevedo, prolific singer-songwriter from Pernambuco who will be performing on Sunday at 7:30PM at Praça XV also spoke, saying,”It is a great satisfaction to be part of the cultural history if the city in which I have chosen to live.”
The program is diverse as well as extensive. Big name headline attractions dominate the main stage line ups with performances from Jorge Ben Jor (Friday, midnight, Rio das Pedras), Marcelo D2 (Friday, 10:30PM, Praça XV), classic samba performers Dana Ivone Lara (Friday, 8:30PM, Praça XV) and Lulu Santos (Sunday, 10PM, Rio das Pedras), and contemporary Brazilian pop favorites As Chicas (Saturday, 10:30PM, Praça XV).
At the same time, a plethora of smaller events and performances will be taking place across the city. Parque das Ruinas in Santa Teresa will play host to a VJ spectacular on every day from 7PM to 10PM; Praça Jardim do Méier in Méier and Praça Xavier de Brito in Tijuca will have live art afternoons with sculptors, poets and actors; elsewhere hip hop contests, DJ sets and traditional dance performers pack out a program of over 54 hours and involving 1,500 people.
For more program information visit viradaocarioca.net.br.
* Due to the disruptions caused by heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro in recent days and in respect to the families of victims, Virada Carioca has been postponed. The event was originally planned for this weekend, April 9th – 11th, and will now take place between April 23rd-25th.