Brazil: the “Rock in Rio” festival returns after the Covid-19

The Rock in Rio mega-festival makes its big comeback on Friday with headliners like Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa and Coldplay, and will bring together 700,000 spectators over seven days after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 which hit hard Brasil.

“It’s time to meet again, after the pandemic. We will be able to meet each other, embrace each other: life is not behind a screen, it’s live”, said Roberto Medina, founder of the festival, during a press conference at the Olympic Park of the 2016 Olympics, where the concerts will take place.

For the ninth edition of the festival in Brazil, the 22nd counting those organized in Portugal, Spain or the United States, Rock in Rio must bring together 100,000 spectators during each of the seven days of the festival (2,3,4,8,9 , September 10 and 11).

As in previous editions, the line-up is extremely eclectic, with heavy metal as well as pop, hip hop, Brazilian chanson and carioca funk.

The first day, Friday, was to give pride of place to heavy metal, with the iconic British group Iron Maiden, the Americans of Dream Theater, the French of Gojira and the regional stage, Sepultura, present at almost all editions since 1991.

The concerts will be spread over eight stages, including the New Dance Order, dedicated to electronic music, and the Espaço Favela, with a Rio slum setting, where young people from these poor neighborhoods where about a quarter of the population of the city.

Spectators can also have fun with attractions such as a zip line that passes just above the main stage or a roller coaster.

International stars like Post Malone, Camila Cabello or Megan Thee Stallion are eagerly awaited by fans, as well as local artists like Iza, Ivete Sangalo or the indigenous rap group Brô Mc’s.

The Amazon will also be represented, in the “Nave” (shuttle) space, a room where images of the largest tropical forest on the planet, currently heavily affected by fires, will be projected on panoramic screens.

In Rio de Janeiro, the festival has normally taken place every two years since 2011, but the 2021 edition was postponed for a year due to the pandemic which has claimed more than 680,000 lives in Brazil.

Thus the concerts take place in the middle of the electoral campaign, less than a month before a presidential election which promises to be the most polarized in recent Brazilian history, between the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and the former chief of the leftist state Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

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