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Madonna confirms Copacabana Beach tour finale

Madonna has confirmed rumours that her 40th anniversary tour will wrap up with a historic free concert in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – the biggest show of her career.

The Queen of Pop will bring her Celebration Tour to a close on Copacabana Beach on Saturday 4 May. Promoted by Bonus Track in partnership with Live Nation, it will be her first gig in Brazil since 2012 and will be the only South American date of the tour.

No tickets are required for the event, with entrance to be applied on a first come first serve basis on the day of the performance, which will be broadcast live on Brazilian free-to-air television network TV Globo.

“The confirmation of this show is a great gift for all Madonna fans,” says Bonus Track partner Luiz Guilherme Niemeyer. It will truly be a unique moment, with one of the most successful musical tours expected across several countries, and the artist chose exactly Rio de Janeiro for this grand finale. Much more than a show, we will show the world the impact of this great event, open to the public, held on Copacabana Beach, a scene that dominates the global imagination as an example of natural beauty.

“Furthermore, it is important to highlight here the numerous positive impacts of this event for the city and the State, with the increase in tourism and the economy.”

The stage will be located in front of the Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel. The event is presented by financial services company Itaú, and sponsored by the City of Rio de Janeiro, the State Government of Rio de Janeiro and Heineken, with support from Deezer.

“All Brazilians can celebrate and be inspired together with us in this story that transcends generations”

“We are turning 100 years old and celebrating this date alongside our customers in this historic and free Madonna show in Copacabana is something very special and as big as the history of Itaú Unibanco,” says the bank’s CMO Eduardo Tracanella.

“To celebrate our centenary, [there is] nothing like bringing the icon of this campaign, free of charge, so that all Brazilians can celebrate and be inspired together with us in this story that transcends generations. We will soon be releasing new features for Itaú customers.”

Launched in London last October with the first of six sold-out nights at The O2, The Celebration Tour has spanned 14 countries, with its European leg grossing $77.5 million from 429,000 ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The run continues this week in North America with two dates at Houston’s Toyota Center. Upcoming dates also include stops in Atlanta and Tampa, as well as three nights at Miami’s Kaseya Center and five nights at Palacio De Los Deportes in Mexico City.

Madonna’s most well-attended show to date was a performance at Parc de Sceaux in Paris, France on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, which drew 131,100 concertgoers. However, free concerts on Copacabana Beach have routinely attracted in excess of one million people to concerts in the past. The Rolling Stones’ famous 2006 show pulled in an estimated 1.5m fans, while a 1994 New Year’s Eve gig headlined by Rod Stewart reputedly drew 4.2m.

 


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Madonna to wrap up tour with Copacabana Beach gig?

Madonna is set to wrap up her Celebration Tour in Brazil with potentially the biggest concert of her career.

The 65-year-old has reportedly lined up a “free and historic” show on Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Beach. Visit Rio, the city’s official tourism office, also told Brazilians to “get ready” for the event, which is yet to be officially confirmed.

The New York Daily News reports the May gig, paid for by the Brazilian bank Itaú, would mark the pop icon’s 40 years in music, as well as the bank’s 100th anniversary.

“Yes, it’s true: Madonna is coming to Brazil for a mega show on May 4, which can potentially become the largest show of the Queen of Pop’s four-decade career,” declares Rio-based newspaper O Globo.

Free concerts on Copacabana Beach have routinely attracted in excess of one million people to concerts in the past. The Rolling Stones’ famous 2006 show pulled in an estimated 1.5m fans, while a 1994 New Year’s Eve gig headlined by Rod Stewart reputedly enticed 4.2m.

Madonna’s most well-attended show to date was in front of 131,100 people in Paris, France in 1987

Madonna’s most well-attended show to date was a performance at Parc de Sceaux in Paris, France on 1987’s Who’s That Girl World Tour, which drew 131,100 concertgoers.

The Celebration Tour, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of Madonna’s breakout single Holiday, does not currently include any stops in South America. The tour launched in London last October, with the European leg grossing $77.5 million from 429,000 ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The North American leg, which was rescheduled after Madonna was hospitalised with a serious bacterial infection, began in December 2023 and is due to conclude in April with five nights at Palacio de los Deportes in Mexico City.

In January, Madonna and tour promoter Live Nation said they would “vigorously” contest a lawsuit filed by two fans after the singer started a concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center more than two hours late.

 


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Luiz Niemeyer on Brazil’s hottest new festival

Luiz Oscar Niemeyer, the promoter behind a number of the biggest live shows in Brazilian history, has told IQ about the evolution of his new festival Music Is The Answer.

The Brazilian veteran is renowned for organising concerts such as Paul McCartney’s 1990 concert at the Maracanã, which attracted 184,000 people, and The Rolling Stones’ historic performance to over 1.5 million people on Copacabana beach in 2006.

He is also responsible for the groundbreaking Hollywood Rock festival (1988–1993), which took place in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and drew world-class artists including Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi and Eurythmics.

“Nothing like Hollywood Rock has happened in Rio and São Paulo since then but we had massive success with this two-city model 20 years ago so we’re repeating it with Music Is The Answer (MITA),” Niemeyer tells IQ. 

Launched during the pandemic, MITA takes place in both Brazilian cities across two days at the end of May. The two-stage, daytime festival is slated to return for a second edition this year, headlined by Lana Del Rey and Florence + the Machine.

“We had massive success with this two-city model 20 years ago so we’re repeating it with MITA”

Niemeyer says the two-city model has been a crucial factor in securing artists from across the globe, as well as sponsorship deals.

“Rio is the door to Brazil – all the artists want to play it – but São Paulo is the main market and the biggest city, where all the companies are established. It’s a very important market for sponsorship and selling tickets because 20 million people live there.

“If we only did Rio, we wouldn’t have enough to offer the artists. If I offer them two cities and maybe a concert in the middle, I’ve got a nice package for them.”

Niemeyer says that MITA is the only festival offering such as package, which helps it stand out from a competitive festival market that includes Rock in Rio, Lollapalooza and Primavera.

“I would say we’re the third festival in Brazil right now… probably bigger than Primavera because we do two nights in two cities,” he explains. “Rock in Rio and Lolla are major festivals – they play for 100,000 people per night. We do have competition because our acts play those festivals but we have a different proposal. I think the artists now value what we’re doing and they want to play our festival. You can see that by the talent we managed to book.”

“I would say we’re the third festival in Brazil right now, behind Rock in Rio and Lolla”

A bigger investment in talent is one of the main changes for this year’s MITA, according to Niemeyer. While the debut edition offered five international acts – Gorillaz, Rufus du Soul, The Kooks, Two Door Cinema Club and Tom Misch – this year’s will deliver eight.

In addition to the aforementioned headliners, Haim, Flume, The Mars Volta, BadBadNotGood, Sabrina Carpenter and Jehnny Beth make up the international representation on the MITA 2023 bill.

The bigger budget is thanks, in part, to more sponsorship as well as the move to a bigger location in São Paulo – from Spark Arena (cap. 12,000) to Novo Anhangabaú (35,000).

The Rio edition, meanwhile, will once again take place at the 20,000-capacity Jockey Club as “it’s linked to the brand, image, spirit and philosophy of the festival”.

Niemeyer says that both festivals are almost sold out and that this edition will recoup losses from the debut edition, which was faced with additional challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’re living in a very enthusiastic moment in our business”

“Last year, we had several problems,” he says. “We opened sales in late November 2021 and, in mid-December, Brazil suspended all outdoor activities because of this new variation. Also a lot of suppliers shut down over Covid and the remaining ones didn’t have the same labour force to fulfil the demands. There were several surprises for the first festival and we had to go above budget, ending up with a bigger loss than we expected.

“But now, there’s no pandemic anymore and everything’s under control. Our budget is according to new prices and we’re prepared to work with no surprises. This year, we’ll recoup losses from the first edition and from the third year on, we’re going to be very profitable.”

Though Brazil is reckoning with extraordinary exchange and interest rates, Niemeyer says business has been “booming” since the pandemic: “We’re living in a very enthusiastic moment in our business. People are eager to go out and have fun experiences. Coldplay did 10 or 11 stadium shows recently and sold out, Rock in Rio in September was a big success. Everything is doing well.”

Niemeyer is promoting MITA under his new company, Bonus Track, which was formed after he left T4F (Time for Fun), South America’s leading live entertainment company.

T4F bought Niemeyer’s company Planmusic in 2016 and later appointed him head of live music/entertainment activities on a five-year contract, which ran out during the pandemic.

In addition to launching MITA alongside local promoter Thirty Entertainment, Bonus Track manages the Teatro XP Investimentos theatre at the Jockey Club headquarters in Gávea. The company will also revive Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Canecão arena, which has been closed for 12 years.

 


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Niemeyer’s Bonus Track company to revive iconic Rio arena

Veteran Latin promoter Luiz Niemeyer’s company Bonus Track is to revive Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Canecão arena, which has been closed for 12 years.

The company, in partnership with Klefer Entretenimento e Participações, won an auction for the 30-year lease with a final bid of BRL 4,350 million (€769,392).

The Bonus-Klefer consortium will invest BRL 184m (€32.6m) into the construction of a brand new 6,000-capacity arena on the Praia Vermelha Campus, which is owned by The Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

The multipurpose arena is projected to open in 2025 and will host around 120 concerts per year, according to Bonus-Klefer.

In addition, UFRJ has required the conglomerate to build 80 new classrooms for the university’s students, along with a rehearsal space for musicians.

“[Canecão] is where popular music was born, as all the major acts in Brazil have played there”

“Canecão is a very iconic place in Rio and Brazil in general,” says Niemeyer, who has promoted some of the biggest concerts in Brazilian history, including The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney.

“It’s where popular music was born – all the major acts in Brazil have played there. People have a very emotional connection with this place. The whole country knows about it and there’s a lot of history related to this place. Everyone’s very excited about it reopening and everywhere I go, people are congratulating me. It’s going to become a tourism point of Rio.”

Bonus Track manages the Teatro XP Investimentos theatre at the Jockey Club headquarters in Gávea, and is responsible for the MITA (Music Is The Answer) festival, which will be held in Rio and São Paulo from the end of May.

Canecão previously hosted concerts from some of Brazil’s biggest stars, including Roberto Carlos, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, Vinícius de Moraes, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Toquinho and Miúcha and Elymar Santos, and has been closed since 2010 due to legal disputes.

 


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Rock in Rio launches ‘Global Experience’ ticket

For the first time in the history of Rock in Rio, the Brazil and Portugal editions will be taking place in the same year.

The organisers have decided to mark the occasion with a special pass for fans wishing to celebrate the return of Rock in Rio on both sides of the Atlantic.

For under €200, the Global Experience pass will give fans access to one weekend of the Lisbon edition and one day of the Brazil edition.

The Lisbon-based edition of Rock in Rio (cap. 80,000) will return after four years between 18–19 and 25–26 June, with Foo Fighters, The National, Liam Gallagher, Duran Duran, a-ha, Xutos & Pontapés, Bush and Post Malone.

For under €200, the Global Experience will give fans access to one weekend of the Lisbon edition and one day of Brazil

The Brazilian edition of Rock in Rio (cap. 100,000) will be held between 2–4 and 8–11 September 2022 at the Olympic Park in Rio De Janeiro, and will be headlined by Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.

The Rio De Janeiro biennial, which is the largest festival in south America, will now take place on even years while new festival The Town will take place on the odd years.

The Town was announced in August 2021 and is slated to be “the biggest music, culture and art festival Sāo Paulo, Brazil, has ever seen”.

The inaugural edition will take place in September 2023, welcoming up to 105,000 people per day to the Interlagos race track in Sāo Paulo – the largest city in Latin America.

Rock in Rio is majority-owned by Live Nation after the entertainment giant increased its shareholding in the company, in 2019.

 


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Rock in Rio founder plans new 105,000-cap festival

Roberto Medina, founder of the largest festival in South America, Rock in Rio, has announced a new event which is set to be “the biggest music, culture and art festival Sāo Paulo, Brazil, has ever seen”.

The inaugural edition of The Town will take place in September 2023, welcoming up to 105,000 people per day to the Interlagos race track in Sāo Paulo – the largest city in Latin America.

The event will involve “lots of music, lots of stages and lots of entertainment, with national and international attractions during the five days of celebration,” according to Medina.

“I love Brazil intensely,” says Medina. “And, just like Rock in Rio, The Town was born from this passion for our land, from the amplification of looking at new opportunities and from the desire that the pandemic brought me in these months of confinement to bring something new.

“It will be surprising. The entire concept was conceived based on an inspiring and cosmopolitan São Paulo, in addition to being ready to host an event of this magnitude.”

“The entire concept [of The Town] was conceived based on an inspiring and cosmopolitan São Paulo”

From next year, Brazil will host Rock in Rio (cap. 100,000) in even years and now The Town in odd years.

The Brazilian edition of Rock in Rio will be held between 2–4 and 8–11 September 2022 at the Olympic Park in Rio De Janeiro, and will be headlined by Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.

The Lisbon-based edition of Rock in Rio (cap. 80,000) will also take place next year (18–19 and 25–26 June), with Foo Fighters, The National, Liam Gallagher, Duran Duran, a-ha, Xutos & Pontapés, Bush and Post Malone all confirmed.

The Brazil and Lisbon editions of Rock in Rio were called off in 2021 and 2020.

Rock in Rio is majority-owned by Live Nation after the entertainment giant increased its shareholding in the company, in 2019.

 


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Brazilian singer arrested after unlicensed show

A popular Brazilian singer has been arrested after playing an unlicensed, non-socially distanced concert in a school last week.

Samba star Marcelo Pires Vieira, known as Belo (‘Beautiful’), was apprehended by Brazil’s Civil Police yesterday (17 February) following the 12 February show, described by news agency EFE as a “massive concert” at a state school in Parque Uniao, a favela in the north of the city.

According to police, the show took place both without authorisation and without any preventative measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including mask wearing.

All Carnival events, parties and concerts are banned this year to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Rio de Janeiro.

The show “could only have taken place with the authorisation of the head of the gang which controls drug trafficking”

In addition to the obvious breaches of coronavirus restrictions, officers suspect the concert, held on the first night of the Rio Carnival, was organised and financed by drug traffickers operating out of the favela (slum) where it took place.

Footage from the concert, filmed by both attendees and news helicopters, was broadcast on Brazilian television, showing a large crowd at the school.

Gustavo de Mello de Castro, head of the Civil Police’s drug commissariat, ordered the arrest of four people, including Belo. According to a police statement, the show “could only have taken place with the authorisation of the head of the gang which controls drug trafficking in the region,” Luiz Moura Bargosa, who is also subject to an arrest warrant.

A statement from Belo’s publicist says the singer was hired by a production company which had promised to fulfil all health and safety protocols and secure permission to hold the event.

 


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Montreux Jazz Festival to launch China edition

Renowned Swiss event Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF) is set to launch a new edition in China next year with a programme that’ll explore the theme of ‘when west meets east’.

The schedule will combine Chinese and Asian music as well as jazz, which has been enjoying a new lease of life in the country in recent years.

The new edition is due to take place between 5–8 October 2021 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, and will be the Swiss event’s third international partner alongside Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

“The Montreux Jazz Festival is a legendary event, revered by music lovers from all over the world. I played there for the first time in 1982 and today, 40 years later, I have the honour of being the musical director of the festival in China,” says Ted Lo, musical director of the MJF China.

“After Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, we are pursuing our journey of mutual cultural and musical exchange in China”

“We are delighted to welcome Hangzhou and the passionate team of MJF China into the great MJF family,” added CEO of the MFJ Mathieu Jaton. “After Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, we are pursuing our journey of mutual cultural and musical exchange, values which have always been dear to MJF.”

The original festival in Montreux, Switzerland was founded by Claude Nobs in 1967 and has played host to artists including Etta James, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Ms Lauren Hill, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie.

This year, in light of the pandemic, MJF held a 16-day virtual music festival showcasing iconic Montreux performances from festivals past to mark what would have been its 54th edition.

MJF is due to hold four editions of the renowned festival in 2021: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the end of spring; the flagship festival in Montreux, Switzerland (2–17 July); Tokyo, Japan in the autumn; and finally Hangzhou, China.

Read IQ‘s feature on how MJF has softened the impact of Covid-19 by diversifying into digital content and live programming for its partners here.

 


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Brazilian fireman serenades streets of Rio

A local fireman is bringing music back to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, giving trumpet recitals from atop a 50 metre cherry picker in different areas of the city.

For the past few weeks, Elielson Silva has been putting on solo concerts for his fellow citizens in quarantine, all while maintaining social distancing rules.

Donning his fireman’s suit, Silva has recited Brazilian classics such as ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’, ‘Samba do Avião’ and ‘Aquarela do Brasil’, as well as the national anthem, around Rio, including in front of the famous tourist spots Copacabana beach and Sugar Loaf Mountain.

“Everyone is suffering due to the pandemic,” Silva told the Associated Press. “I am trying to boost the moral of the Rio population and alleviate some of sadness of these times we are living in.”

“Bringing these people some music, from above, has been important for me as a musician and for the city.”

 


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