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December 18, 2014

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Rock in Rio, whose headliners have included Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, heads to Las Vegas

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Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Beyonce performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013.

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Rock in Rio

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It was last May that I first told you the humungous music festival Rock in Rio was destined for the Strip.

Then I reported in September that MGM Resorts officials dispatched a security team to Rio de Janeiro to learn from the 600,000 people who attended the most recent seven-day event how to handle crowds if they gave Rock in Rio a green light here.

That event billed as the world’s largest music festival featured headliners Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Muse and Alice in Chains.

Now I can confirm that Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina has told Billboard Magazine that he will stage it first as a four-day festival running 12 hours a day in May 2015 and estimates that it will have an audience of 80,000 each day. He plans to expand it to a six-day festival when it returns in 2017.

Look for at least several of the concerts to be staged in the new MGM park area opposite Luxor and Mandalay Bay on the east side of the Strip. It will feature five stages and event streets to represent Brazil, America and Britain and include Disneyland-type amusement park rides. Tickets can be reserved now on the festival website RockinRio.com but don’t go on sale until January.

Entertainment billionaire Robert X. Sillerman, who is a regular Las Vegas presence (he licensed Cirque du Soleil to produce “Viva Elvis!” at Aria), has just signed an option agreement to acquire a 50 percent interest in a new entity that will own the assets and operation of the 30-year-old festival franchise. In the past 28 years, Rock in Rio has drawn more than 7 million people to its three revolving homes in Rio, Madrid, Spain, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Obviously, it rivals the Electric Daisy Carnival that Pasquale has at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in June. “It’s bigger in terms of public, in terms of sponsorship, in terms of social media,” Roberto told Billboard.”

“There’s nothing on the planet like Rock in Rio,” Robert added. “Rock in Rio’s commercial structure is more advanced than that of American festivals with 650 licensed products.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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