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Rocking Rio

In Brazil, when they go to work on a tricky problem, they call it peeling descascar o abacaxi: peeling the pineapple.

But Brazil in 2016 offers a lot of the kind of pineapples that aren’t easily peeled. The former president was impeached in September amid a wide-ranging corruption enquiry; the economy is suffering a recession worse than the Great Depression; and the real–US dollar exchange rate has halved since 2012. Then there are ecological concerns, the Zika virus, and an epic struggle with economic inequality. If Brazil was only recently thought to have moved into a new era of ease and prosperity, 2016 – a fairly terrible year in just about any language – has provided a sharp correction.

For the live business, however, one negative appears to have created a positive: a reduction in international traffic, leading to a boom in domestic action.

“Brazil is going through a tough phase”

Brazil is still the number-one live market in South America and a must-visit for international stars going that way. But the weakness of the real means they’re not going that way as often as they were, even if the megastar shows – the Stones, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath – keep on coming and keep on selling.

“Brazil is going through a tough phase,” says Phil Rodriguez of Miami-based, South America-wide Move Concerts. “Between the corruption scandals, the economy going through the worst recession since the 1930s and companies laying off workers, a certain paralysis has come into play.

“Companies are holding onto budgets until a better, more defined picture of the future comes into view. That primarily affects sponsorships, and it creates a scenario where the topline shows still do well but many mid-level shows are hurt.”


Read the rest of this feature in issue 69 of IQ Magazine.

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