By Ciara Long, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tickets to watch Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools parade competition, the central part of the city’s annual Carnival celebrations, will go on sale to the general public over the weekend, starting at 9AM on Saturday, January 14th.
The parades, which showcases Rio’s most prestigious and highest-performing samba schools, the Grupo Especial (Special Group), will take place on February 26th and 27th in the Sambódromo, in Rio’s Centro.
Starting Saturday, members of the public can buy tickets to watch from the Arquibancada (stands) over the phone on and continue to call through Sunday, January 15th. Tickets are available by phone from Rio’s parade organizing agency Independent League of Samba Schools (LIESA).
The Arquibancada, which have thirteen numbered sectors and are the largest part of the Sambódromo, is made up of are long, concrete benches that run along the sides of the stadium. They are purchased by section, but seat numbers are not allocated, allowing visitors to dance and sing along as the samba schools pass.
Speaking to The Rio Times, Rodrigo Braz Vieira, Director of local tourism company Bravietour called the parades “one of the greatest expression of the Brazilian Culture” and added, “The parades is an impressive work of art that takes almost one whole year to get ready for one single night,” said Vieira.
Vieira offered advice on the best viewing spots in the Arquibancada. “For a better experience and view at the Sambódromo I’d suggest sitting at the stands sector 3-5 or 11 or the equivalent on the even side. Those are the stands where the local people go, and they follow with great enthusiasm their favorite samba school, singing, dancing and commenting about the curiosities.”
Tickets costs between R$190 and R$320, and those interested must provide a CPF number, and can purchase up to four tickets. Upon reserving a ticket from LIESA, buyers will be given a password which they must use to make a payment via the indicated bank branch on January 18th or 19th.
When calling LIESA’s automatic telephone line (21 3032-00xx and the number of the desired sector) buyers should note that sector nine, known as the ‘tourist sector’, is already sold out according to government news agency reports.
Those wishing to attend can also purchase tickets from various travel agencies throughout the city, although these will often have an extra charge. Some vendors, such as Rio-Carnival.net, charge a 35 percent administration fee but will allow buyers to pay in foreign currency and with credit cards.
Travel agencies may also be able to help members of the public to purchase seating in other areas, such as the Camarotes (VIP balconies) and Frisas (front boxes), which have already sold out via LIESA.
Frisas contain six numbered chairs per box, with fifty boxes per row in each sector of the Arquibancada, while the Camarotes are the Sambódromo’s only covered seating, found between the Frisas and the Arquibancada.
Purchasing tickets for the Champions Parade will follow the same pattern, and can be purchased from LIESA on January 31st.