By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – One of the biggest New Year’s celebrations in the world and Rio’s second biggest party of the year – after Carnival – is the massive and awe inspiring Réveillon party. The event often draws millions of revelers to the sandy shores of the famous Copacabana Beach.
Yearly the party-goers descend on the four-kilometer-long stretch of shoreline to welcome in the New Year by watching well-known national and at times, international acts perform.
Additionally they go to see the famous fireworks display which usually consist of an over fifteen minute pyrotechnic extravaganza. Last year the included acts performed before and after the fireworks on four stages temporarily erected along the beach.
The main stage was positioned prominently in front of the famous Copacabana Palace with the Claro Stage near the Rua Santa Clara. Stages three and four were positioned in front of Leme and in front of Rua Xavier da Silveira.
The main stage acts included Brazilian axé singer Claudia Leitte and Diogo Nogueira, winner of last year’s Brazilian edition of the TV show “The Voice”. Several samba schools also entertained the massive crowds from various stages, adding a feeling of Carnival to the night.
G.R.E.S. Unidos da Tijuca, the 2012 champion samba school, performed on the main stage giving the crowd a sneak peek of what was to come during their 2013 Carnival performance, while G.R.E.S. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro and G.R.E.S. Unidos de Vila Isabel, who would go on to become the 2013 Carnival champions, performed on the Claro Stage.
Last year before his show at Barra da Tijuca’s Riocentro, Guetta, who also performed at Rock in Rio earlier this year, told The Rio Times; “I was honored to be invited to perform on Copacabana Beach on [New Year’s Eve] last year. I was the first European artist ever and was blown away. [Two] maybe three million people dancing together; celebrating as one. It’s a memory that will stay with me forever.”
Performers for Réveillon 2014 on Copacabana Beach will be announced by the Rio Tourism Board (Riotur) during a press conference to be held in the first week of December.
Yet while the musical acts are a major draw to the event, the spectacular fireworks display might well be considered the true stars of the night. Last year, to welcome in 2013, twenty-four tons of fireworks were sent into the sky from eleven boats at midnight.
They lit up the darkness above the beach and over the estimated two million revelers for a full sixteen minutes. As a first the show was also coordinated with light-show produced by sixteen LED banks flashing and complementing the fireworks as they exploded.
On the night of December 31st this year, Copacabana’s Avenida Atlântica is expected to again be completely closed to traffic beginning some time in mid-to-late afternoon. Getting to event, however, is easy on foot once in Copacabana, simply follow the massive crowd.
For more information, as it’s released, see the Copacabana Réveillon website here.