By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – When Rio celebrates, Copacabana is usually where the biggest party is held, and New Year’s Eve – or ‘Réveillon’ as it’s known locally – is no exception. This year is going to see around two million revelers gather on Copacabana beach to witness a special synchronized fourteen-minute firework display in addition to around ten hours of live music.
The musical line-up, which in past years has included Brazilian star Anitta, David Guetta, and many other luminaries, is this year headed by MPB legend Gilberto Gil and Carioca pop singer Ludmilla. The performances, which are set to run between 7PM and 4AM, will also include a special appearance from the Beija-Flor samba school, winners of Rio Carnival 2018.
Just before the new year begins, there will be a message of love and peace from an animated Christ, projected onto the famous Christ the Redeemer statue. Then the beginning of 2019 will be marked by a huge firework display that will be synchronized to a special soundtrack prepared by DJ João Brasil. This year, the theme of the celebrations is ‘Réveillon do Rio, onde ser carioca é natural’ (New Year’s in Rio, where being Carioca is natural).
The main stage will be set up just in front of the famous Copacabana Palace, with five huge screens broadcasting the performances up and down Copacabana beach. There will also be medical service stations stationed along the beach, with centers at Avenida Princesa Isabel, Praça do Lido, Rua República do Peru, Rua Santa Clara and Rua Xavier da Silveira.
While thirty police towers are being installed along the famous stretch of sand and nearly 2,000 policemen will be on duty, attendees are cautioned to only carry their essentials, as pickpockets are known to take advantage of the extra crowds on this festive occasion.
Traveling by metro is encouraged by city hall, with special metro (subway) cards on sale to facilitate a stress-free journey to and from the celebrations.
People should be aware that from 7PM on Monday, December 31st, regular metro cards, RioCards, and Giro cards will not be accepted, except at General Osório, Cantagalo and Siqueira Campos stations where these cards will be accepted until 11:59 PM.
After midnight, only special cards will be accepted until 7AM on Tuesday, January 1st.