Live Nation Acquires Rock in Rio Festival

Rock in Rio
Courtesy of Rock in Rio

Rock in Rio

Live Nation has acquired a stake in South America's largest festival Rock in Rio. The concert promotion giant Live Nation structured the deal to purchase stakes from both the festival’s founding partners, and the creditor committee for previous owner SFX, which is now LiveStyle.

Rock in Rio is considered one of the largest festivals in the world and its annual September festival over two weekends in Brazil is considered one of the biggest concerts in South America, attended by 700,000 fans from 62 different countries.

Rock in Rio also stages evens in Lisbon, Portugal and was founded in 1985. Held every other year, the event has played host to 1,700 artists and been attended by 9 million fans. In 2013, SFX CEO Bob Sillerman led an acquisition of 50 percent of the festival for $62.3 million. Less than two years later, SFX filed for bankruptcy and the company that emerged from the debt reorganization, LiveStyle, retained ownership of half of Rock in Rio.

In 2015, Rock in Rio was held in Las Vegas, but poor ticket sales sunk the stateside event and it has not returned to North America since.

"We are delighted to bring together the world’s biggest music festival with the largest entertainment company on the planet,” says Roberto Medina, Rock in Rio’s founder and president, in a statement to Billboard, following the sale. Medina will continue manage production and provide some limited consulting to Live Nation.

"Rock in Rio is a marquee event which set the standard for festivals in South America,” says Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino in a press release. “Roberto and his team have grown Rock in Rio to become a truly global event and the preeminent festival in the emerging live events market in South America. We look forward to integrating  their industry expertise into the Live Nation business.”