The Rock in Rio music festival is slated to hit the Las Vegas strip in May 2015, Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina revealed exclusively to Billboard Monday.
Medina predicts that the four-day Rock in Rio Las Vegas he says is planned for early May 2015 will bring an audience of 80,000 people each day. He said that a future Vegas date envisioned for 2017 could expand to six days. While Medina did not disclose more specific details, he said that the festival will be held on Vegas’ main resort drag, “not separated” from the city center.
The news about the festival’s first U.S. edition follows the announcement Friday that the growing entertainment conglomerate SFX had signed an option agreement to acquire a 50 percent interest in a newly formed entity which will own the assets and operation of the festival franchise. Rock in Rio has been staged 13 times over 28 years in Madrid and Lisbon in addition to Rio to more than 7 million people. The 2013 Rock in Rio, held in the festival’s home city in September, was attended by 595,000 people over seven days.
“It’s bigger in terms of public, in terms of sponsorship, in terms of social media,” Medina said, in comparing Rock in Rio to established U.S. festivals. “Not a little bit bigger, a lot bigger.”
The Department of Tourism of Rio de Janeiro (RioTur) put the festival’s economic impact on the city at over $400 million U.S. dollars.
There’s nothing on the planet like Rock in Rio,” SFX Entertainment Chairman and CEO Robert Sillerman said in an interview with Billboard. Last week, the growing entertainment conglomerate announced it had finalized its purchase of German promoter i-Motion for some $21 million in cash and stock. SFX growing portfolio now includes such events as Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, Sensation, Electric Zoo, Disco Donnie Presents, Life in Color, Nature One, Mayday and Ruhr-in-Love. The company also owns digital platform Beatport among other properties. "As electronic music is expanding and gaining importance and prevalence, I’m sure it will play a greater role [in Rock in Rio],” Sillerman added.
With the creation of the new entity for Rock in Rio, SFX takes over as Medina’s main partner, replacing IMX, a company owned by Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista and IMG Worldwide. IMX will retain a minority share in Rock in Rio, Medina confirmed.