Matt Slocum/Associated Press
Monday, March 31, 2014 | 11:58 p.m.
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.
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MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.