Set for consecutive weekends in May at a newly constructed site on the Las Vegas Strip, Rock in Rio will split its lineup between rock and pop and will boast more than 100 acts.
No Doubt, Maná, Metallica and Linkin Park will anchor the first, rock-leaning weekend of the festival, scheduled for May 8-9. The alt-metal Deftones lead the highlights of weekend one's bill, which also includes Foster the People, Gary Clark Jr., Rise Against, Sepultura, Coheed and Cambria and others.
The second weekend of the festival (May 15-16) will focus on pop radio hitmakers and global superstars, with platinum acts Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran in marquee slots.
Grammy-nominated British soul singer Sam Smith leads the bill along with John Legend, Empire of the Sun, Ivete Sangalo and Jessie J. A number of buzzy acts spinning new twists on pop dot the second weekend's lineup including Charli XCX, Echosmith, Tove Lo and Mikky Ekko.
Rock in Rio’s first foray into the U.S. celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Brazil-born music festival, and organizers have teamed with MGM Resorts International and Cirque du Soleil to create what's planned to be a sprawling, immersive site.
Spread over 40 acres on the Strip, the custom-made City of Rock will have the capacity to accommodate 85,000 people per day and also feature multiple stages, a 600-foot-long zip line and a Ferris wheel among other attractions.
There will also be three themed Rock Streets, each lined with 20 houses filled with shops and restaurants along with a stage where bands and artists will perform throughout the day.
Rock Street USA will take its inspiration from New Orleans and focus on street dance; Rock Street UK will be influenced by London and Ireland and feature performances from Celtic-rock band Terra Celta and cover band Stone the Beetles; and Rock Street Brazil tapped a number of acts from the festival's home country, including Spok Frevo Orquestra, Bossacucanova, Leo Gandelman, Marcos Valle, Simoninha, Toni Garrido and Pepeu Gomes.
The festival headliners will perform on the festival's main stage and alternate timing, making it possible to see every artist on the lineup.
Founded in 1985 by Brazilian entrepreneur Robert Medina, the first festival -- launched in Rio de Janeiro, naturally -- featured Queen, AC/DC, Rod Stewart and Iron Maiden.
Billed as the “World’s Biggest Music Festival,” Rock in Rio has attracted more than 7.4 million people, according to organizers, and expanded into Europe with festivals in Lisbon and Madrid. Bringing Rock in Rio to the States extends the brand’s reach to U.S. audiences and offers a strong addition to Vegas’ growing festival market.
The three-day dance music gathering Electric Daisy Carnival drew more than 400,000 attendees in 2014, and the city also hosts the fledgling Life is Beautiful Festival and the pop-driven iHeartRadio Music Festival.
Rock in Rio USA, as in its sister cities, will be biennial (2017 and 2019 are already guaranteed, according to officials), but the permanent infrastructure will allow for other festivals and events to use the space. Country and jazz festivals are most likely, as multi-day rock and pop events outside of Rock in Rio will be off-limits.
Tickets go on sale Jan. 20 through Ticketmaster, with general admission passes priced at $298 and payment plans available. Access to the VIP area -- which can accommodate up to 4,000 people and will boast an air-conditioned section and all-inclusive buffet -- will cost $498 per day.
Full main stage lineup below:
Main Stage: No Doubt, Maná, the Pretty Reckless
Sunset Stage: Foster the People, Gary Clark Jr., Bleachers, Saints of Valory
Main Stage: Metallica, Linkin Park, Rise Against, Hollywood Undead
Sunset Stage: Deftones, Sepultura (feat. Steve Vai), Coheed and Cambria, Of Mice & Men
Main Stage: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Echosmith, Ivete Sangalo
Sunset Stage: Jessie J, Charli XCX, Tove Lo, James Bay
Main Stage: Bruno Mars, Sam Smith, Empire of the Sun
Sunset Stage: John Legend, Joss Stone, Magic!, Mikky Ekko