Latin America a mandatory stop for touring artists

Irish singer Bono performed with his band U2 during their show at Morumbi stadium in São Paulo in April 2011. (Paulo Whitaker /Reuters)

Irish singer Bono performed with his band U2 during their show at Morumbi stadium in São Paulo in April 2011. (Paulo Whitaker /Reuters)

By Patricia Knebel for Infosurhoy.com – 25/01/2012

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil — A stable economy and a public interested in experiencing culture have combined to make Brazil a preferred stop for artists touring internationally.

After decades spent outside the global concert circuit, Brazil has, in recent years, returned to being a hotspot for recording artists.

Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Amy Winehouse, Elton John, Shakira and Iron Maiden have all drawn crowds in major cities.

This trend isn’t unique to Brazil, as South American countries with strong economies – namely Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru – have helped promoters attract artists from abroad.

And 2012 has started strong. Hawaiian singer Bruno Mars and British band Florence and The Machine are the main attractions in the second edition of the Summer Soul Festival.

British soul singer Dionne Bromfield, protégé of the late Amy Winehouse, has also landed in Brazil for the festival.

XYZ Live is the company behind the Summer Soul Festival, which already held a show in São Paulo on Jan. 24 and will play in Rio de Janeiro on Jan. 25, and in Florianópolis, capital city of Santa Catarina, on Jan. 28.

From Jan. 25 to 28, about 200,000 are expected to take advantage of the warm weather in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia to sing and dance during the Festival de Verão Salvador.

The event, which is entering its 14th year, will feature appearances by Brazilian artists such as Ivete Sangalo, Titãs and Jota Quest. Among the international attractions are Men At Work, Ben Harper and Alanis Morissette.

“Salvador is one of the most festive cities in Brazil, and we expect to get things started for Carnival, which happens in February,” says Bernardo Araujo, the entertainment director at iContent, which hosts the event.

International artists are increasingly being welcomed to the traditional Bahian event, but the Festival de Verão Salvador is, above all, a celebration of Brazilian music, Araujo says.

“Brazil is now a stop on the global circuit, but here, those artists are just some of many attractions, performing alongside Brazilian axé, Brazilian pop, Brazilian country and Brazilian forró,” he says.

XYZ Live confirmed performances by Selena Gomez in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro next month.

Another attraction will be Michael Bublé, with his “Crazy Love World Tour.” The singer will perform in Rio de Janeiro on March 31 and the next day in São Paulo.

Between January and April, Time for Fun will bring James Blunt, Laura Pausini and Luis Miguel to Brazil.

Another tour that has fans excited is “The Wall Live,” with Roger Waters. In March and April, fans in Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico will have an opportunity to see one of the founders of Pink Floyd perform live.

Roxette will also tour South America in 2012. The Swedish band is scheduled to pass through Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil in April and May.

Lollapalooza in Chile and Brazil

The Latin American edition of American alternative rock festival Lollapalooza represents another first for the region.

Since its creation in 1990, the event has attracted artists such as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Arcade Fire and Kanye West.

The festival, which features 50 artists, will pass through Chile on March 31 and April 1. Among the attractions are North-American band Foo Fighters and the Icelandic artist Björk.

Following the Chilean leg, the festival will move to Brazil, where it will be held in São Paulo on April 7 and 8.

“The demand for Lollapalooza tickets was a big surprise,” says Leonardo Ganem, the president of GEO Eventos, which is producing the show. “It’s a very carefully curated event, with a very strong brand.”

Of the 140,000 tickets available for the show, 105,000 have been sold. Tickets are expected to sell out by the end of the month.

Latin America is experiencing an explosive growth of international performances, Ganem says.

“Brazil is at the forefront of this trend, due to its strong economy and the fact that it’s an enticing tourist destination for the artists,” he adds.

French DJ David Guetta and British DJ FatBoy Slim, who traditionally hold shows in the Brazilian Northeast and Rio de Janeiro during the South American summer, are examples of this trend.

“Brazilians have money and they want to spend it on entertainment,” Ganem says. “Plus, the country has a rich musical culture, which piques the interest of better-known artists.”

Brazil’s proximity to Peru, Ecuador and Colombia also has helped these countries to attract major artists’ tours.

But it will be difficult to maintain the rhythm of unprecedented shows, Ganem says.

Except for a few artists, such as Lady Gaga and Adele – who spent 16 weeks at the top of the North American charts with her album “21” – all of the major artists have performed in Brazil.

“We had a repressed demand that has now been met,” he adds.

But festivals represent an attractive alternative for promoters, Ganem says, since bringing together several major artists in one event is a safer investment.

The fees for the most popular pop stars, such as Adele, can range anywhere from R$1 million (US$570,000) to R$2 million (US$1.14 million).

“Right now in Brazil there are at least 10 major events with strong brands that draw big audiences,” Ganem says. “But there’s still a lot of room for growth, given that the European summer features more than 400 of these types of events.”

Rock in Rio proved festivals are recipes for success.

The event marked an era in Brazil that began in the 1980s, during which international artists such as Prince, Queen and Scorpions were brought together for a huge show. The concept has been replicated in Brazil, Spain and Portugal.

In 2011, 700,000 fans attended a concert featuring performances by Guns n’ Roses, Coldplay, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica, alongside Brazilian stars.

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