Interview with Agatha Arêas (Part I)
About three weeks ago we sat down with Rock In Rio’s head of marketing Agatha Arêas. A bit more than half an hour of conversation with someone that personifies what Rock In Rio really is: great energy, joy and maximum professionalism. Agatha Arêas talked about the history of what is no longer just a music festival but a global brand. And revealed that soon they will announce a new Rock In Rio festival "somewhere in Europe".Rock In Rio is a music festival. But that turns out to be a reductive definition. What is Rock In Rio after all?
If we look at how we were born, there is a clear evolution. When we celebrated 30 years of global brand, we felt the need to look inside, revisit our values, purpose, mission, vision and also talk to the market, to our partners. When Rock In Rio was created in 85, there was a very different lifestyle. The technology was not so advanced, there was no internet, there were no social media, so it made us behave and consume in a very different way. Then in the middle of our history the internet bursted out. But what came to change even more for brands to relate and comunicate with their clients and audiences, were social media and networks. With social networks you are completely exposed. Sometimes it can not be so good, it can be a little risky, uncomfortable for those who do not know how to deal with it, but it also can be a great opportunity as it is an open channel. So you have to have a very good team with eyes and ears wide open to listen to what our audience wants and to what the networks want. We invested heavily in it. Rock In Rio was born in 85 already as the largest music and entertainment festival in the world. Brazil, at that time, was much more psychologically distant than geographically. People thought it was the end of the world. We’ve never had top world artists coming there to perform.And Brazil was coming out of a dictatorship...
Exactly. And so it was a very important event for the Brazilians, who rescued their self-esteem, their joy. The first Rock In Rio presented 10 days of complete hapiness and remains in the heart of many Brazilians. It is a very emotional memory. And so we started big, everything was huge, lots of people, lots of days, lots of beer, lots of slices of pizza, all of which made us the biggest festival of music and entertainment in the world at that time. And we also started this great communication platform that Rock In Rio is in itself. Roberto Medina’s dream was to create a better world through that party, to make a better life for the Carioca (name for people from Rio de Janeiro) who always had a very strong artistic vein but was very oppressed by the dictatorship. So he created a movement, a music festival that lives on a communication platform. Then, from 2001, we started to build the concept of amusement park in Brazil.
We began investing in transforming the City of Rock into an entertainment platform with experiences that go beyond the musical stages and when we arrived in Portugal in 2004, we were able to improve this concept of entertainment park. Over the years that we stayed out of Brazil, we increased this idea even further. And when we came back to Brazil in 2011, we presented a completely different product from what Brazilians saw in 2001. Our goal evolved to turn the park into a kind of Disney World of music.
"Rock In Rio is no longer just a music festival.
It started as a music festival but it grew up to be a Communication Platform supported by a Music and Entertainment Festival."
Last year, in Rio de Janeiro, we had the opportunity to host the festival at a much bigger park which is the Olympic Park. We had there plenty of room to play with new contents. With this research that we did when we celebrated 30 years of existence, we started having new ideas. And we tested them out at the Olympic Park. So, as a platform of experiences, besides music concerts, we offer a Digital Area with plenty of gaming, a Pop District with lots of activities and experiences, a Rock District... Our mission is now to provide the best experiences for all our audiences where we include it’s plurality and transversality as we have people of various ages and various musical styles.
Music is there as the business core but we explore 3 great universes: Sensations, Knowledge and Inspiration. Sensations is where music, art, dance and gastronomy are. Knowledge as Rock In Rio organizes and presents a Rock In Rio Academy and Rock In Rio Innovation Week. And last but no least, the universe of Inspiration as Rock In Rio hugely supports causes for children's inclusion and education, volunteer programs and formation.Recently Live Nation has aquired a controlling stake in Rock In Rio company. What are the future challenges?
The entry and interest of Live Nation comes to prove the size of the Rock In Rio brand. It was a negotiation that took a long time and came to an end with success because both parties saw this union as interesting. On one hand you have a festival brand with a level of quality and excellence unprecedented and on the other hand you have a group, like Live Nation, that has a huge global weight. When you bring them together, notoriety and global penetration, it becomes something more powerful than if we were alone. We are looking forward to this partnership that is beginning now. We still have a lot to build together. But we are capable, in this edition in Lisbon, to officially announce our new European market. That is, we will probably announce a new Rock In Rio festival somewhere in Europe..."
"That is, we will probably announce
a new Rock In Rio festival somewhere in Europe."
In the United States, Rock In Rio is in pause...
Yes, it’s in pause. Things there were very positive and everything worked out very well but for now it’s paused. With this new Live Nation partnership we obviously want to continue to be present in the US but we will work on it in due time.
to be continued...