Rock in Rio

Last updated
Rock in Rio
Rock in Rio - Madrid 2012.jpg
Rock in Rio logo before a concert.
Genre Rock, pop, indie, heavy metal
Location(s) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lisbon, Portugal
Madrid, Spain
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Years active1985–present
Founded byRoberto Medina

Rock in Rio is a recurring music festival originating in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It later branched into other locations such as Lisbon, Madrid and Las Vegas.


Eight incarnations of the festival have been held in Rio de Janeiro, in 1985, 1991, 2001, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, eight in Lisbon, in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, three in Madrid in 2008, 2010 and 2012 and one in Las Vegas, in 2015. Brazilian entrepreneur and advertiser Roberto Medina was responsible for the inception and organization of the festival, as well as moving the 2004 edition to Lisbon, while controversially keeping the brand "Rock in Rio". [1] In 2011, Rock in Rio returned to its original location, Rio de Janeiro, with a new line-up of singers and groups.

Rock in Rio is one of the largest music festivals in the world, with 1.5 million people attending the first event, 700,000 attending the second and fourth, about 1.2 million attending the third, and about 350,000 people attending each of the three Lisbon events.

In May 2018, Live Nation Entertainment acquired a majority stake in the festival (including from previous stakeholder SFX Entertainment), with Medina continuing to manage the festival's operations. Live Nation stated that it intended to "[integrate] their industry expertise" into their overall business. [2] [3]


1985 Rock in Rio Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1991 Rock in Rio II
2001 Rock in Rio III
2004 Rock in Rio Lisboa Lisbon, Portugal
2006 Rock in Rio Lisboa II
2008 Rock in Rio Lisboa III
Rock in Rio Madrid Madrid, Spain
2010 Rock in Rio Lisboa IV Lisbon, Portugal
Rock in Rio Madrid II Madrid, Spain
2011 Rock in Rio IV Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2012 Rock in Rio Lisboa V Lisbon, Portugal
Rock in Rio Madrid III Madrid, Spain
2013 Rock in Rio V Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2014 Rock in Rio Lisboa VI Lisbon, Portugal
2015 Rock in Rio VI Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rock in Rio USA Las Vegas, United States
2016 Rock in Rio Lisboa VII Lisbon, Portugal
2017 Rock in Rio VII Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2018 Rock in Rio Lisboa VIII Lisbon, Portugal
2019 Rock in Rio VIII Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2020 Rock in Rio Lisboa IX - postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic Lisbon, Portugal
2021 Rock in Rio Lisboa IX - postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic Lisbon, Portugal
2022 Rock in Rio Santiago Santiago de Chile, Chile
Rock in Rio Lisboa IX [lower-alpha 1] Lisbon, Portugal

Rio de Janeiro

Rock in Rio

Queen performing in 1985. Queenland 198501.jpg
Queen performing in 1985.

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 nights (Benson, however, ceded it to James Taylor for their second night in the same bill, due to the huge delay Taylor's extended performance had caused to his concert two days before). About 1.4 million people attended the 10-day-long festival.

Rock in Rio in numbers

The full list of artists who performed at Rock in Rio:

Rock in Rio 2

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 had top billing, for one night each.

Full list of artists who performed at Rock in Rio 2:

Guns N' Roses's January 20 concert was their first ever with then new drummer Matt Sorum and keyboard player Dizzy Reed. George Michael's second concert, on January 27, the festival's closing day, featured his ex-Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley, who joined Michael for a few songs at the encore. Again a misplaced Brazilian act suffered from bad reception, with Lobão being pelted with beer cans and being forced to cut his performance short.

Rock in Rio 3

The third Rock in Rio festival took place in 2001. 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.

Iron Maiden released their set as Rock in Rio . Profits from the sale of the album were donated to the Clive Burr fund, helping their former drummer pay mounting medical bills for his multiple sclerosis.[ citation needed ]

A notable appearance at Rock in Rio 3 was that of American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with a new line-up featuring guitarist Buckethead, original member and singer Axl Rose (vocals), and longtime member Dizzy Reed (keyboards). "I have no intention, and I never did, of denying you all something you enjoyed," Rose told the audience. "And I thought it was only fair for you to see that this new band can play the fuck out of these songs. It's very hard to ask a musician to learn to play the part or parts played by other musicians before that. These guys here have worked very hard." [8]

Carlinhos Brown, the opening act on the day Guns N' Roses performed, was attacked by water bottles throughout his performance. [9] Bassist Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age performed nude for part of their set and was arrested for indecent exposure after the concert, being released soon after.

Full list of artists who performed at Rock in Rio 3:

Rock in Rio 4

The Palco Mundo (World Stage) at the Rock in Rio 4 World Stage Rock in Rio 4.jpg
The Palco Mundo (World Stage) at the Rock in Rio 4
The Rock Street at the Rock in Rio 4 Rock Street Rock in Rio 4.JPG
The Rock Street at the Rock in Rio 4

The fourth edition of Rock in Rio, back to its origins, was held on September 23, 24, 25, 29 and 30, and October 1 and 2, 2011, at an area (pt) to be built next to the old City of Rock – which is currently the site of the Olympic Village of the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Three different stages were employed, with the headlining concerts at the Palco Mundo (World Stage), the secondary ones in Palco Sunset (Sunset Stage), and DJs playing at a specialized stage for electronic music. The closing acts, Guns N' Roses and System of a Down, entered following a poll on the festival's website. [10] Maroon 5 was a last hour addition, following Jay-Z leaving for personal reasons.

Full list of artists who performed at Rock in Rio 4: [11] [12]

Rock in Rio 5

Rock in Rio 5 was held in September 2013. The headline acts, chronologically, were: Beyoncé, [13] [14] Muse, Justin Timberlake, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Iron Maiden. [15]

Rock in Rio 6

The sixth Brazilian edition was held from September 18 to 27, 2015 at the City of Rock. The headliners were Queen + Adam Lambert, Metallica, Rod Stewart, Elton John, System of a Down, Slipknot, Rihanna and Katy Perry.

Rock in Rio 7

The seventh Brazilian edition was held in the City of Rock from September 15 to September 24, 2017. The headliners were Maroon 5, Justin Timberlake, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, The Who, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Singer Lady Gaga was scheduled to perform on September 15, but had to cancel 24 hours before due to fibromyalgia. Maroon 5 performed a second concert due to her absence. Shawn Mendes and 5 Seconds of Summer also performed.

World Stage
15 September (Friday)16 September (Saturday)17 September (Sunday)21 September (Thursday)

Maroon 5
5 Seconds of Summer
Pet Shop Boys
Ivete Sangalo

Maroon 5
Shawn Mendes

Justin Timberlake
Alicia Keys
Walk the Moon

Def Leppard
Fall Out Boy

22 September (Friday)23 September (Saturday)24 September (Sunday)

Bon Jovi
Tears for Fears
Alter Bridge
Jota Quest

Guns N' Roses
The Who

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Thirty Seconds to Mars
The Offspring
Capital Inicial

Rock in Rio 8

World Stage
27 September (Friday)28 September (Saturday)29 September (Sunday)3 October (Thursday)4 October (Friday)5 October (Saturday)6 October (Sunday)

Ellie Goulding
Bebe Rexha

Foo Fighters
Tenacious D
CPM 22 + Raimundos

Bon Jovi
Dave Matthews Band
Goo Goo Dolls
Ivete Sangalo

Red Hot Chili Peppers
Panic! at the Disco
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Capital Inicial

Iron Maiden

The Black Eyed Peas

Imagine Dragons
Os Paralamas do Sucesso

Lisbon, Portugal, and Madrid, Spain

Rock in Rio Lisboa

After the huge success of Rock in Rio 3 in Brazil, Roberta Medina decided to organize a festival of the same stature in Lisbon. The decision to maintain the name Rock in Rio was controversial, and detractors of the idea in Brazil started calling it Rock in Rio Tejo, [16] [17] after the Tagus river (rio Tejo, in Portuguese) which runs through the Portuguese capital.

The first edition of Rock in Rio Lisboa, as the festival was officially called, took place in 2004. Although the festival had a slight change of name, it kept the same structure as the Brazilian editions. An entire City of Rock, with an area of over 260,000 audience was erected at the Bela Vista park, with a large centre stage and several tents where different artists would perform, simultaneously.

Full list of artists who performed at Rock in Rio Lisboa:

Roger Waters in Rock in Rio Lisbon Roger Waters in Rock in Rio Lisboa 2006 (1).jpg
Roger Waters in Rock in Rio Lisbon

Rock in Rio Lisboa 2

The second edition of Rock in Rio Lisboa was held in 2006, on 26/27 May and 2/3/4 June.

Rock in Rio Lisboa & Madrid (2008)

The third edition of Rock in Rio took place in Lisbon, Portugal, on May 30, 31 and June 1 and 5–6. The dates for Arganda del Rey, Madrid, were June 27, 28 and July 4–6.

Rock in Rio Lisboa III

May 30

May 31

June 1

June 5

June 6

Rock in Rio Madrid

June 27

June 28

July 4

July 5

July 6

Rock in Rio Lisboa & Madrid (2010)

Rock in Rio Lisboa IV [18]

May 21 / 82.000

May 22 / 45.000

May 27 / 85.000

May 29 / 95.000

May 30 / 38.000

Rock in Rio Madrid II [19]

June 4 / 51.000

June 5 / 85.000

June 6 / 90.000

June 11 / 30.000

June 14 / 48.000

Rock in Rio Lisboa & Madrid (2012)

Rock in Rio Lisboa V [18] [20]

Rock in Rio Madrid III [21] [22]

Rock in Rio Lisboa (2014)

Rock in Rio Lisboa VI [24]
World Stage
May 25 (Sunday)May 29 (Thursday)May 30 (Friday)May 31 (Saturday)June 1 (Sunday)

Ivete Sangalo
Robbie Williams
Paloma Faith
Boss AC & Aurea

The Rolling Stones
Gary Clark, Jr.
Xutos & Pontapés
Rui Veloso with Lenine & Angélique Kidjo

Steve Aoki
Linkin Park
Queens of the Stone Age
Capital Inicial

Arcade Fire
Ed Sheeran
tribute to António Variações

Justin Timberlake
Jessie J
Mac Miller
João Pedro Pais & Jorge Palma

Rock in Rio Lisboa (2016)

Rock in Rio Lisboa VII [24]

World Stage
May 19 (Thursday)May 20 (Friday)May 27 (Friday)May 28 (Saturday)May 29 (Sunday)

Bruce Springsteen
Xutos & Pontapés
Rock in Rio - the Musical

Queen + Adam Lambert
Rock in Rio - The Musical

Hollywood Vampires
Rival Sons
Rock in Rio - The Musical

Maroon 5
Ivete Sangalo
D.A.M.A & Gabriel, o Pensador
Rock in Rio the Musical

Ivete Sangalo (replaced Ariana Grande)
Ariana Grande (cancelled)
Charlie Puth
Rock in Rio - O Musical

Rock in Rio Lisboa (2018)

Rock in Rio Lisboa VIII [25]

World Stage
June 23 (Saturday)June 24 (Sunday)June 29 (Friday)June 30 (Saturday)

Diogo Piçarra

Bruno Mars
Demi Lovato

The Killers
The Chemical Brothers
Xutos & Pontapés

Katy Perry
Jessie J
Ivete Sangalo
Hailee Steinfeld

June 24 sold out almost three months prior to the festival. [26]

Rock in Rio Lisboa (2022)

The festival was originally set to take place in June 2020, but was postponed to 2021 and again to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [27]

Las Vegas

Rock in Rio USA

"Rock in Rio USA" was the first North American edition of the festival, being held in Las Vegas on May 8, 9, 15 and 16, 2015. The festival took place on two weekends, oriented towards rock and pop music. Rock Weekend took place on May 8 and 9, and Pop Weekend took place on May 15 and 16. It took place in the City of Rock (Las Vegas), located north of the Las Vegas Strip.

Live broadcasts

The Rede Globo Networks broadcast Rock in Rio live in Brazil. In Nigeria, TNT and A&E broadcasts the festival live.

In Portugal, Rock in Rio Lisboa is broadcast by SIC Radical.

See also

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  1. Originally set for 2020, but was postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was "postponed" (sic) once again in 2021, this time to 2022, due to the same reason. [4]


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  7. "Iron Maiden – Revelations" . Retrieved 2 February 2010 via YouTube.
  8. Hotten, Jon (January 2002). "Mad bad and dangerous to know?". Classic Rock #36. p. 84.
  9. Rock in Rio: Carlinhos Brown undergoes the first scandal in the festival
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  12. Archived November 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
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  16. "Coluna Ialdo Belo". Retrieved 2014-05-18.
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  20. Archived May 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
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  22. Archived April 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  23. Archived April 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
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  26. Group, Global Media (9 April 2018). "Esgotado dia de Bruno Mars e Demi Lovato no Rock in Rio".