By Kim Dumo, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rock in Rio sold over 700,000 tickets, drawing people in from around Brazil and the world to Barra de Tijuca and the new festival mega-grounds named Cidade do Rock (City of Rock). This year, Rock in Rio is not only the host for artists such as Rihanna, Coldplay, Metallica and Bebel Gilberto, but is home to many expatriate artists on the latest innovation called Rock Street.

Rock Street, Rock in Rio, Brazil News
The crowd continues to build around Rock Street even into the night, image recreation.

The more intimate addition to Rock in Rio hosts many local jazz, blues and rock artists, and even bluegrass and gospel. At Rock Street, fans can find several expatriate artists such as Scott Feiner’s Pandiero Jazz, The River Country Trio, Mark Lambert e Orquestra Rádio Swing, Alan Pratt and many more local acts.

With all major act publicity leading into the festival, there were many left in the dark about Rock Street. As the weekend progressed though, its definition became clear and the crowds came. It is a safe haven away from the hoards surrounding the main stages, and a place where people feel some of the New Orleans lifestyle.

Steve Yolen of the River Country Trio bluegrass and gospel band, who are slated to perform every day of the festival, explained: “Rock in Rio was much better than I ever imagined — great vibes from the crowd, terrific organization, [and] avid music lovers.”

Going into the next long weekend, Yolen says: “I think the upcoming weekend will be better – the Rock in Rio organization learns quickly from problems and corrects them. From a personal point of view, it has been marvelous because of the total interest of the fans to music. Bring it on!”

River Country Trio at Rock Street, Rock in Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, News
Former American Society of Rio de Janeiro Presidents Peter Warner (L) and Steve Yolen (R) of the River Country Trio bluegrass and gospel band taking a break between sets, photo by Mariana Reis.

Alan Pratt, who plays regularly in Rio with two different bands, is also performing solo on Rock Street. Pratt sums up the feeling of the area: “The idea of Rock Street is to capture the spontaneity and spirit of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, where there are street artists of all sorts.”

And capture the image they did. Rock Street was filled with livelihood this past weekend with an array of local artists from Rio, as well as other fun games and surprises. It gave concertgoers a place to take their family to lunch and away from the crowds. There were even activities and juggling acts for the kids to rave about.

As the first day arrived, these artists came together to put on a spectacular performance, keeping the carefree and easygoing mentality in the air. Music lovers from all over were enjoying themselves this past weekend in a huge boiling pot on Rock Street.

Bruce Henri, the producer of Rock Street, as well as a performer, described, “Heavy metal rockers with piercings and spiky hair were dancing to cowboy music – people got the vibe and they were getting into it!”

As the second weekend approaches, these artists will be back at Rock Street. If you are attending the concert, stop by and give some recognition to Rio’s own local musicians, the specific lineups can be seen on the Rock in Rio web site.