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Rock in Rio founder plans Chilean fest

A Chilean edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio is in the works for 2021, confirms festival founder Roberto Medina.

Rock City-promoted Rock in Rio, founded by Medina in 1985, is the second highest-grossing festival in the world and the largest in South America. Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, also operates a sister event in Lisbon, and formerly in Las Vegas and Madrid.

The Santiago de Chile edition marks the first expansion of the Rock in Rio festival brand within the Latin American region. Medina estimates investment needed for the new festival to be “nearly $150 million”.

The four-day event is billed for October 2021, just after the flagship Rio de Janeiro festival, with “practically the same line-up”. Drake, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse are among those playing Rock in Rio this year.

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step,” Medina told Chilean newspaper La Tercera. “800,000 people live in Lisbon, whereas Santiago has five million inhabitants in a country with a much bigger economy than Portugal.”

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step”

Medina also cites “great political and economic stability” in neighbouring Argentina as a major deterrent for a potential Argentinian branch.

“[Chile’s] proximity to Brazil is a positive,” states Medina, saying “almost 200,000 people” miss out on tickets for the Rio edition each year. Fans now have the option to attend the sister event a four-hour plane ride away. According to Medina, acts have traditionally played solo concerts in Santiago after their Rock in Rio appearance.

Medina also cites the positive economic impact the festival would bring to Santiago, estimated to be US$500 million over the four days.

Lollapalooza Chile, which has taken place in Santiago since 2011, is not viewed as competition for the Rock City festival. “The scale and approach [of the two events] are different,” explains Medina.

Rock in Rio takes place from 27 to 29 September and 3 to 6 October in Barra Olympic Park. Tickets will be available soon via Festicket.

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Rock in Rio Germany to bring the carnival to Dusseldorf?

German event management company Production Office has applied to stage the first Rock in Rio Germany next year, according to local media.

Production Office has written to the city’s lord mayor, Thomas Geisel, to ask permission to hold a Rock in Rio ‘mega-event’ in the new D.LIVE Open Air Park in August 2019, according to the Westfälische RundschauRock in Rio was acquired by Live Nation – which has also produced domestic German editions of several of its other festival franchises, including Lollapalooza and Wireless – in May.

However, Production Office/Live Nation are likely to face stiff opposition from Dusseldorf city councillors, who recently succeeded in forcing the relocation of a planned open-air show by Ed Sheeran in the city over environmental concerns.

To the “amazement” and “boundless disappointment” of promoter FKP Scorpio, city officials from across the political spectrum, from conservative Christian Democrats to left-leaning Green and the Left party members, declared the concert at D.LIVE – which would have necessitated the chopping down of 104 trees – off limits, causing FKP to relocate to the Veltins Arena stadium in Gelsenkirchen.

Even if the new festival were to be greenlit, Michael Brill, the CEO of D.LIVE, is doubtful whether organisers could meet the August 2019 deadline, reports the Rundschau.

The festival is likely to face stiff opposition from Dusseldorf city councillors, who recently forced the relocation of a planned open-air show by Ed Sheeran

“Due to the presumed duration of the [approval] process, it is unlikely that it [the venue] will be available before summer 2020,” he says.

Opponents of the Sheeran show are also digging in their heels, with local Left leader Angelika Kraft-Dlangamandla confirming her party is still against any events that would lead to tree felling. While Production Office has reportedly offered to plant new trees, and assured the mayor all its events are “carbon neutral and sustainable”, “small trees do not” offset the damage caused by uprooting larger ones, according to Kraft-Dlangamandla.

Should it be approved, Rock in Rio Germany would take place in 2019, 2021 and 2023, alternating with Rock in Rio Lisbon, according to the application.

In addition to Rock in Rio Lisbon and its flagship event in Rio de Janeiro and, promoter Rock City formerly operated sister festivals in Spain and Las Vegas.

At press time, Live Nation had not responded to a request for comment.


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