For many years, I tried to attend as many concerts as I possibly could, but concert of individual bands, so that I could get in, listen to what I paid to listen and enjoy the concert to the maximum, before it got dull. Now, music festivals are the thing… getting more bang for your buck! With the surge of new “old” music festivals and proper old festivals still going strong, I think to myself what is causing this phenomenon of more frequent music festivals in countries with booming economy mainly about Brazil. The booming economy and access to credit is the obvious answer, but why, with so much money floating around, organizers of Rock in Rio came up with such a bad line up.
Rock in Rio is an old music festival, first held in Rio de Janeiro in 1985. What an amazing festival it was, but it is a pity I can only read about it! Queen, James Taylor, Ozzy, Yes, Nina Hagen, Iron Maiden… not to count the amazing brazilian performances of Barao Vermelho, Moraes Moreira, Rita Lee, Os Paralamas do Sucesso… well, the list goes on and on. It is the largest music festival by number of attendees up to date in the world, even larger than Woodstock.
After this festival, there were another two, in 1991 and 2001. Maybe things were not so profitable in the homeland and the festival moved to almost biannual dates in Lisbon and Madrid since 2004. As we all know, the Brazilian economy just boomed since the near collapse of the eurozone and the country became one of the focal point for investments in several areas and a hotspot for celebrity tourism. All of a sudden, the country everyone was afraid to visit became the cool place to visit. With companies paying hollywood celebrities to show their faces in carnaval, music festivals and Copacabana beach, well, every brazilian wanted to get close to that! Now, brazilians were paying small fortunes to be in the same environment as Paris Hilton, Gerard Butler and Jude Law. It was a good thing that many powerful man saw how carelessly the general population were willing to spend to see people and events they could only see if they went to the US or Europe. Well, who doesn’t want to go to Beyonce’s concert and meet Kim Kardashian? hehehehe… what a bad combination, but well, the organizers probably won’t see the concerts, they are just giving people what they want at a very inflated price! Why not? As long as it is not coming out of my pocket (prices are R$260 per day, around £85). I won’t even comment on the line-up, expect for the last day, it is just awful! All for the profit on the one single organizer who own the name Rock in Rio! Noone benefits from this expect the sponsors… and the people who got into massive credit cards debts just to attend this horror!
Wait a minute… Glastonbury sponsors also benefit from the profits, don’t they? Oxfam, Wateraid and Greenpeace. I just mentioned the two because they are amongst the largest music festivals in the world, if not the two largest. I like Glastonbury, I like the idea of Glastonbury! I am not saying they always have the best line-up in the world, but just the idea that I am helping charities is a push for me to attend the festival! But that is just me! Tickets for Glastonbury are/were going for £205 (just for comparison, around R$625… but for all the 5 days). This means that five days of Glastonbury buys you a bit less than three days of Rock in Rio. If you are lucky, you get a ticket for the last day of Rock in Rio and get to see the Boss play, or you play for Glastonbury and are sure to at least see the Stones! But the lineup goes beyond that! Elvis Costello, The Smashing Pumpkins, Mumford & Sons… can’t go wrong!
This is just a quick rant… I don’t like the idea of Rock In Rio nor the hardship I see friends of mine going through just to catch a glimpse of this. Some being in debt for good few months… well, that’s not the organizers fault! I know! But given the number of attendees during the festival, the prices could definitely be a wee bit lower. If you are paying that much for a ticket, I would at least like to see a Led Zeppelin reunion or something!