By Ricardo Freire, a.k.a. The Professional Tourist, author of the
Viaje na Viagem travel blog and guides
Here's a disclaimer for those who might be reading this without knowing where I stand:
1) I love Rio more than the city where I was born, the city where I live and more than anywhere I've ever visitted.
2) I find the New Year's celebration in Copacabana (Réveillon de Copacabana) the most beautiful thing ever
3) I support the Rio 2016 Olympics in a nearly unconditional way
BUT: who knows what Rio mayor Eduardo Paes was thinking when he announced he'd hired Madonna to sing at the 2011 Réveillon.
Hello, mr. Mayor: without Madonna, millions of people already show up at the beach for the year end celebrations. With a free Madonna show, the whole country might set up camp there.
It's irresponsible - I repeat: ir-res-pon-si-ble - to create a monster demand for an event that, as it is, can not accomodate any more spectators than the ones it usually draws.
The actual purpose of the beach shows during the Réveillon should not be to attract more poeple, but rather, to entertain those that are there anyways. It's more of a fun samba night, no need to call up mrs. Jesus Luz.
Réveillon with Madonna, besides spoiling the experience for those who like to spend New Year's in Rio, will increase tenfold the safety problems - and, in the worst case scenario, lead to mob pushing and pounding like those that happen in Meca.
Want to hire Madonna to sing, despite the opposition of the locals, who are sick and tired of megashows at the beach? Fine, but do it on a night when the beach would otherwise be empty, and not on a night when every single Brazilian is off work and looking for a fun place to be in at the countdown to the new year.
Want to tell the world how amazing Rio's Réveillon is? Then invite Madonna - or any A-list pop star - to attend the party as a guest. He or she could even take part in some of the traditional rituals, such as dressing in white, hopping seven waves on one foot for good luck or sending presents out to see to Iemanjá, the sea goddess. Então traz a Madonna, ou qualquer outro pop star de primeiríssimo time, para assistir ao Réveillon. Heck, get her a biodegradable Kabala to throw out to sea, if that's what it takes. There.
That'll be enough to get Rio's Réveillon in the headlines all over the world, without actually ruining the fun.
More Rio on this blog:
Dining and bars (botecos)
- Roberta Sudbrack: the best chef in Rio?
- Terzetto Café: great breakfast spot in Ipanema
- The best restaurants in Rio according to the experts
- Bráz, Carlota... São Paulo restaurants open Rio outposts
- Where to eat bacalhau (cod): the best Portuguese restaurants
- Le Pré-Catalan at the Sofitel: when hotel dining is done right
- Bráz, São Paulo's best pizzeria, opens outpost in Barra da Tijuca
- The best cafés, pastry shops, finger foods and chocolates in Rio
- Academia da Cachaça, in Leblon: the best spot for pairing cachaças and traditional Brazilian food
- Aquim: elegant restaurant with great food in Leblon
- The best hotels in Barra da Tijuca
- Sheraton has the best spa in Barra da Tijuca
- The Ouro Verde, in Copacabana: and old classic has gone downhill
- La Maison, in Gávea, is one of Rio's best places to stay
- The best hotels in Leblon, Rio
- The best hotels in Ipanema, Rio
- Hotel Fasano Rio, in Ipanema: the best in town
- The best hotels in Copacabana, Rio
- The best hotels in Santa Teresa, Rio
- The hotel Santa Teresa, in Santa Teresa, Rio: a full report with photos
Fashion and Shopping
- Best shops in Ipanema: Lenny, Mara Mac, etc.
- Fashion Rio, the biggest fashion event
- Rio's best beauty addresses
- 2009 Oi Fashion Rocks: Versace, Marc Jacobs, Lenny et al on the runway, Diddy, Mario Testino, Donatella and Mariah in attendance
- Rio Ferris wheel opens in Copacabana
- Artists Nuno Ramos and Vik Muniz open shows in Rio
- Corredor Chopin: new art hub nextdoor to the Copacabana Palace hotel
- Museu da República museum shows contemporary art
- Yves Saint Laurent at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)
- Livraria da Travessa, in Barra da Tijuca