Rock in Rio

Rio on the rocks?


Eh? Isn’t Rio in Brazil? Of course it is, that’s where it all started, with Brazilian entrepreneur Roberto Medina’s series of mega concerts in 1985, including Queen and AC/DC. It was repeated in 1991 and 2001, again featuring some of the biggest acts that ever existed, Prince, Guns N’Roses, George Michael and even Britney, and was then controversially taken to Lisbon for 2004 and 2006, and then became a double event in 2008, with shows both in Lisbon and Madrid.

Madrid’s own Rock in Rio continued the tradition of bringing some of the most glamorous acts in music to perform: The Police, Shakira, Bon Jovi, Rihanna, Metallica… I mean, it’s not every day you go to a festival and Stereophonics, Amy Winehouse, Jamiroquai, Franz Ferdinand and Neil Young are mere support acts.

But there is something in the wind. In 2011 and even more star-studded Rock in Rio than ever was held where it probably should be, Rio, and it has recently been revealed that Buenos Aires is going to have its own version in 2013. It’s curtains for Madrid, I’m afraid. There will no more Rock in Rio in Spain until 2016, and that’ll be held in Barcelona.

Considering the line-ups in previous years, the 2012 offering for Rock in Rio in Madrid looks a bit wishy-washy. The economic downturn has been blamed for this, as it has for all our other woes, but the promoters are also saying that they think it’s time the event had a turn of direction. “There are unavoidable social changes” says one of the big knobs. “Elton John or Rod Stewart might be very good, but they say nothing to young people. Rock in Rio has to turn to electronica.”

Indeed, purists may wonder what the hell a night featuring Pete Tong, Wally Lopez, Martin Solveig, Pitbull and David Guetta is all about, but that’s the one for which the tickets are selling fastest. Red Hot Chilli who?



Saturday June 30, 2012

Maná, Lenny Kravitz

Luciano, Macaco

Friday July 6, 2012

David Guetta, Pitbull, Pete Tong, Martin Solveig, Wally Lopez

Erick Morillo, Afrojack

Saturday July 7, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Incubus, Deadmau5, Gogoll Bordello


Capacity: 100,000

Address: Ciudad del Rock, Arganda del Rey

It’s all well and good this Rock in Rio, but they don’t have stick it out in the middle of bloody nowhere. If you live in Arganda del Rey then you’re laughing, but the chances are that you don’t live in this town of 50,000 odd people on the southeast outskirts of Madrid. Getting there by car is easy enough as long as you’ve got a decent road map just get onto the A3, and it’s exit 33A heading towards Valencia (out of town), or exit 41 if heading into town.

As for public transport, you’re looking to get L9, and you have to right to the very last stop, Arganda del Rey. But that’s not the end of it, because from there it’s a good 5km walk southeast to the place where the actual festival is happening. Luckily enough, they’re laying on shuttle buses that’ll get you there.

However, as we understand it, these are the same shuttle buses that started out from the Santiago Bernabeu metro stop (i.e. the Real Madrid football stadium), so you could always just jump on the bus and catch it all the way. But by doing that you’ll miss out on the charm of Arganda del Rey with its San Juan Bautista Church and the hermitages of Valtierra and Vilches. Which if you ask me, sound a damned sight more interesting than most of the acts playing at Rock in Rio this year.


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