By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Considered by many critics to be one of the best jazz and blues festivals anywhere in the world, Rio das Ostras Jazz and Blues Festival is going to be rocking the sleepy seaside town for its fifteenth year this Friday, June 15th to Sunday, June 17th.
This year, the festival will be taking place over three days, across three stages spread around the city (Praça de São Pedro square, Lagoa do Iriry, and the Costa Azul beach), with over 25 national and international acts, as well as nine emerging acts from the northern region of Rio de Janeiro.
The shows will take place from 11AM until 2AM each day, with a total of thirty concerts being held. Also included in the program is a museum exhibit with photos, videos and artifacts telling the history of the festival since its creation, as well as lectures and workshops with musicians, two food courts and over fourteen restaurants located throughout the city of Rio das Ostras.
Friday’s big show will see Brazilian guitarist Armandinho playing alongside American trailblazer Stanley Jordan; they will be backed up by the grooves of drummer Ivan “Mamão” Conti and bassist Dudu Lima. Igor Prado and his Just Groove band will also be headlining the main stage that night.
On Saturday there will be performances by Amaro Freitas, a great pianist from Pernambuco; as well as a set by trombonist Marlon Sette, and a performance from harmonica maestro Jefferson Gonçalves and the popular singer Rosa Marya Colin. Also, look out for Chicago blues singer Lorenzno Thompson, who will be performing with the Bruno Marques band on two different stages throughout the day.
Sunday will be a day for new talents, with the Eduardo Ponti Jazz Fusion band performing at the smaller ‘Palco São Pedro’ (St. Peter’s Stage) specifically established for emerging artists. Another new band, Laranjeletric, from Rio de Janeiro, will be performing on this stage on Saturday. However, the musicians will take a breather on Sunday as the Brazil World Cup game will be screened on massive televisions.
Due to the ongoing economic crisis, the fifteenth incarnation of the Rio das Ostras jazz and blues festival will have a slightly pared-down structure, with one stage less than before. A few weeks ago, another setback came with the truckers’ strike, which meant the festival had to be rescheduled.
The director of the festival, Stenio Mattos, has been keen to emphasise that the quality for which the festival is known for will remain high. He commented on how important the symbiotic relationship is between the city’s inhabitants, government, businesses and the festival organizers.
“Everyone was sympathetic, because the festival is very important economically for the municipality and one of the ways out of the crisis, since it enhances the vocation of Rio das Ostras for tourism.”
He further added, “Keeping the quality of the attractions within our current possibilities was our priority and I can say that this quality is reflected in the 2018 schedule.”
Having already attracted big international artists such as John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, John Hammond, Ravi Coltrane, Magic Slim and Big Time Sarah over the years, as well as giving a platform to countless emerging and established Brazilian musicians, this year is set to be business as usual for one of the best and largest free music festivals in the world.
What: Rio das Ostras Jazz and Blues Festival
When: This Friday, June 15th until Sunday, June 17th; Concerts begin at 11AM and end at 2AM each day
Where: Rio das Ostras, State of Rio de Janeiro 28890-000