Rock in Rio is a series of very successful rock festivals held in Brazil (and later in Portugal). The first three incarnations of the festival were in Rio de Janeiro, in 1985, 1991 and 2001 and later the there were three in Lisbon, in 2004, 2006 and 2008. The shows were organized by entrepreneur Roberto Medina who has commented that Rock in Rio – Lisbon is here to stay. The next festival will be in Madrid, Spain also in 2008 and again in Lisbon in 2010.
The first edition of the festival was held from January 11-20, 1985. Queen, George Benson, Rod Stewart, AC/DC and Yes were the headliners, each occupying top spot for two night. About 1.4 million people attended the 10-day-long festival.
The second edition was held from January 18-27, 1991 at the Maracanã stadium. Headliners were Guns N’ Roses, Prince and George Michael, each being top billed for two of the event’s nine nights. INXS, New Kids on the Block and a-ha also got top billing, for one night each.
The third Rock in Rio festival took place in 2001 and its seven nights were headlined, respectively, by Sting, R.E.M., Guns N’ Roses, ‘N Sync, Iron Maiden, Neil Young and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
It’s not quite understood why such a large scale show called Rock in Rio, hasn’t actually taken place in Rio in such a long time. Recently, Medina announced that the show would return to Brazil only in 2014, the same year as the World Cup (which will take place in Brazil too). Medina tried to capitalize some more on the success of the shows by opening a Hard Rock Cafe-style restaurant called Rock in Rio Cafe in the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood of Rio and later in Salvador, Bahia although both failed to bring in the same kind of crowds that came to his shows.
Here’s a video of Guns N’ Roses at Rock in Rio 3.