- Associated Press - Thursday, September 22, 2011

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Brazil is getting ready for the return of Rock in Rio, an extravaganza headlined by Elton John, Katy Perry and Shakira that is billed as the world’s biggest music festival.

The festival that opens Friday also includes Rihanna, Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Guns N’ Roses and Coldplay, performing before an audience expected to total some 700,000 by the time it closes on Oct. 2.

The festival began in Rio de Janeiro in January 1985. The military dictatorship that had governed Brazil for two decades had just ended, and 1.4 million people showed up to celebrate their newfound freedom at a concert that brought international attractions like Queen and AC/DC to Brazil for the first time.

It was held twice more in Rio before moving to Portugal and Spain, where six festivals were held between 2004 and 2010.


The new event will take place at a 37-acre (150,000 square meter) City of Rock, which has two stages, a New Orleans-themed jazz street and a 100-foot (28-meter) Ferris wheel in western Rio de Janeiro.

“It is a privilege to be here, ten years later, when the event returns to its original home,” said Nuno Sousa Pinto, Rock in Rio’s production director. “I believe it is going to surpass all expectations that people have of Rock in Rio.”

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Flora Charner with APTN contributed to this report.