Rock in Rio has finally landed in America, and it is bringing part of the world with it — literally. Where else but this mammoth international rock and pop festival could you stroll the streets of New Orleans, immerse yourself in rich Brazilian culture and experience the history and charm of Britain and Ireland? And where else but Las Vegas could you find such a delicious sensory overload?
Welcome to Rock Streets, three immersive experiences that are part of the City of Rock, the 40-acre outdoor custom built Rock in Rio venue that can host 85,000 visitors a day and was designed as “a theme park of music,” according to Roberta Medina, executive vice president of Rock in Rio.
“Each City of Rock is different, depending on the country it’s built on,” Medina said. “… The City of Rock in Las Vegas is slightly bigger than the one in Rio de Janeiro. Its unique setting also allowed us to have more attractions inside, and that is why we’ll have three different Rock Streets in Vegas instead of just one.”
The Rock Streets showcase the authentic sights, sounds and food of the U.S., U.K. and Brazil. Each street is nearly 500 feet long and features its own stage. Colorful street performers, bands and artists help give these streets their authentic flavor. Twenty “houses” filled with shops and restaurants line the streets, making this a fully immersive entertainment experience.
The Rock Street atmosphere is casual, relaxed and intimate enough to request a song from the musicians. With doors opening daily at 3 p.m., festivalgoers can get a fully engaging experience.
Let’s take a stroll around the Streets and see what sets each apart.
Rock Street U.K.
This quaint boulevard is made to resemble London’s Camden Town and Dublin’s Grafton Street, lined with houses that look and feel like traditional pubs and shops. Authentic entertainment reflects the countries’ rich heritage, with Irish bagpipers alongside jugglers, a Victorian-inspired photographer and caricaturist, as well as one of those implacable Buckingham Palace guards. On stage, the band Terra Celta will bring its own brand of traditional Celtic-inspired music, and Stone the Beetles will play classic hits by the Rolling Stones and Beatles every night. All that and international hula hoop performer Lisa Lottie doing her extreme contortions and high-energy “Bend It Like a Barbie” act that has taken her to 29 countries.
Rock Street USA
Like a stroll through the heart of New Orleans, Rock Street USA will be positively jamming with live jazz and blues in street-side cafes, punctuated with All-American imagery of a Cadillac and old-fashioned diners. Adding to the Bourbon Street vibe will be street dancers, tap dancers and bucket drummers — where else in the world would you find that lineup? On stage, crews of professional dancers will show off American dance routines, from hip-hop to dancehall, hosted by an MC who keeps the music bumping throughout the night, spinning Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake and other American superstars. And yes, there will be street dance battles — somebody’s going to get served — as guest crews from L.A. and Vegas go up against the event’s official Street Dance Crew.
Rock Street Brazil
Electric with the vivid colors and culture of Brazil, this street captures the picturesque architecture and feel of this South American country, awash in Latin jazz, sunny vibes, elaborate fruit-topped headdresses and some of the most charismatic characters of Brazilian folklore.
Featured on the Rock Street Brazil main stage, Latin Grammy nominee Bossacucanova will serve up some trademark bossa nova sounds incorporated with modern EDM. A number of Brazilian stars will take the stage, including Marcos Valle, a singer, songwriter and producer who has worked with artists as disparate as Jay Z and jazz giant Dave Brubeck. Brazilian big-band sounds are in store, as well, from SpokFrevo Orquestra, a 17-member group with swinging guitars, saxophones, trumpets and more.
All those Brazilian beats amid authentic houses and garb. You’ll swear you’re right in the middle of Rio de Janeiro. After all, importing a piece of its birthplace is only natural for Rock in Rio, where the world’s biggest rock show began 30 years ago. Leave the passports behind, but definitely bring sunscreen.
–Bob Young, Brand Publishing Writer