Rock in Rio USA Review - Making A Remarkable Debut in the US

Rock in Rio USA! Courtesy Photo

Held at the 'City of Rock', an outdoor venue that spans over 40-acres, Rock in Rio (RIR) has taken over the streets of Las Vegas!

RIR originated in 1985 and attracted nearly 1.4 million people. Originally in other countries such as: Brazil, Lisbon, Madrid, throughout the years Rock in Rio has transmitted to 55 countries, 580 million viewers and streamed live. Now in its 30th year RIR is finally touching US soil and planting its roots in Las Vegas, Nevada

Some of the Delicious Food Served at Rock in Rio. Food Served in the VIP Tent Was Catered by Wolfgang Puck! Courtesy Photo

Being in a city that never sleeps bringing a festival of such magnitude to the strip was the perfect idea. RIR is a two day music festival which was held over two weekends [May 8th and 9th and May 15th and 16th] with a rock weekend and pop weekend.

RIR took place on a brand-new 40-acre, open-air venue being built specifically for concerts called, ‘The City of Rock.’ The City of Rock was located on Sahara Avenue near the MGM-owned Circus Circus Las Vegas hotel and casino which was created by a joint venture between the MGM/Yucaipa/Cirque du Soleil consortiums.

The festival has been looked at as both a big gamble as well as a festival game changer. In sin city a big gamble is only fitting, however, a gamble that has proven to be well worth it. In its first weekend RIR garnished 82,000 which is only less that 3,000 than the festival grounds can actually hold. The team behind the production has put forward $75 million before the first weekend with HUGE additions and assets for attendees that everyone will enjoy. RIR went one step further in its production by adding amenities such as permanent restrooms, shaded areas, charging stations, and much much more. These simple additions are perks to any regular festival goer.

Quick Glimpse of the City of Rock! Courtesy Photo

"Rock in Rio brings people together and shows that it is possible to have fun with different people [as well as] family and friends, says Roberta Medina, EVP of Rock in Rio. Music is the language that brings us all together."

No Doubt Taking Over Rock in Rio. Courtesy Photo

The legendary music festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary worldwide, brought some of the biggest names in music including; No Doubt, Metallica, Maná and Linkin Park to the Las Vegas Strip for its inaugural U.S. outing.

Over the second weekend 90,000 attendees hit the City of Rock to see: Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Big Sean, Jessie J, Tove Lo and more.

All artists were excited to be playing at a festival with such history for their first US show. It was a first for many, Jessie J also expressed her excitement for performing at RIR for her first Vegas show, EVER! 

Jessie J Celebrates Her First Vegas Show by Performing on the Mercedes-Benz Stage at Rock in Rio During Pop Weekend! Courtesy Photo

"I played this festival in Portugal, states Ed Sheeran before taking the stage. It's great to see that they are bringing such good music here." Sheeran played his hit songs as well as a few new ones, and even joined the stage with Taylor Swift later in the night for "Tenerife Sea”. Swifts' performance gave attendees a sneak peek at her world tour, 1989 which is set to kick off May 20th in Louisiana. The duet of Sheeran and Swift was nothing less of adorable.

Taylor Swift Giving a Stellar Performance! Courtesy Photo

Ed Sheeran Serenading The Audience. Courtesy Photo

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the experience of Rock in Rio USA. It was so exciting seeing the audience discovering the City of Rock and enjoying all it had to offer – from talent to attractions, food and the Rock Street’s unique atmosphere. We want to thank the US audience for welcoming us so well to the most competitive market in the world, and we are excited for what’s to come!” stated Medina.

Over the four days, attendees from 47 US states discovered the City of Rock; 18% of attendees traveled from 32 different countries, 30% of which from Brazil. On a survey done during the event, the public gave Rock in Rio USA a 9 out of 10, and 78% of the overall public expressed interest in attending Rock in Rio’s next edition.

Empire of the Suns' Leading Member Takes a Selfie With a Lucky Attendee! Courtesy Photo

The first weekend of RIR was dedicated to rock music! Complete lineup included: No Doubt, Metallica, Linkin Park, Maná, The Pretty Reckless, and Hollywood Undead on the Main Stage. Mercedes Benz Evolution Stage performers for the first weekend include; Foster the People, Deftones, Sepultura (featuring Steve Vai), Gary Clark Jr, Theophilus London, Coheed and Cambria, Saints of Valory, Smallpools and Of Mice & Men.

Echosmith Performing at Rock in Rio. Courtesy Photo

The second weekend, May 15-16 featured a pop-centric lineup with the Main Stage welcoming; Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Echosmith, Empire of the Sun and Ivete Sangalo. The Mercedes Benz Evolution Stage lineup for the second weekend includes; Jessie J, Charli XCX, Joss Stone, Tove Lo, Magic, James Bay, Mikky Ekko and Big Sean.

John Legend Doing What He Does Best! Courtesy Photo

Official partners for RIR were: Mercedes- BenzMGM ResortsCirque Du Soleil, and additional sponsors were: Belvedere VodkaChili Beans,Red Bull, Las Vegas, Yahoo! Live, Los Angeles Times, Crown Royal, Turis Rio, SeTur, iHeart Radio, Bacardi, Hotel Urbano, Telemundo Las Vegas, Renewables, Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada, Slurpee and more.

The Crowd! Courtesy Photo

In case you need more of a reason to look into going to Rock in Rio check out the festival itself 'by the numbers'.

40 acres: size of the open air venue called The City ofRock that will host the first US edition

500 restrooms

700 people working on the construction site

4374 yards of water and sewage pipes

43744 yards of electrical and data cables that run underground throughout the venue

77500 sq. ft. is the total size of the VIP area

$75,000,000 total investment on the project

137 ft. wide by 78 ft. high: size of the Mercedes-Benz Evolution Stage

262 ft. wide by 82 ft. high: size of the Main Stage

59 ft. wide x 29 ft. high: size of eachRockStreet Stage

29 ft.: height of the EDM stage

47839 sq. yds. of synthetic turf throughout the venue

172,000 overall attendees 

82,000 attendees first weekend

90,000 attendees second weekend

47 states represented within the City of Rock

82% of attendees from USA

15% of US attendees from Las Vegas

18% of overall attendees from out of the country

30% of that 18% are attendees from Brazil

20 marriage ceremonies performed

4,000 people enjoyed the zipline

More than 600,000 people visited during festival days

#RockinRioUsa was Trending Topic on all 4 days of event

See Ya Next Year! Courtesy Photo

Stay up to date with Rock in Rio and be sure to check it out in the years to come as this is a festival that has officially raised the bar!

For more information, visit Get the latest updates via Rock in Rio’s Facebook page ( and Twitter feed (

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