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Sambadrome Parade Tickets

Sambadrome Parade Tickets

SECTOR 12 or 13 Cheap Sambadrome Tickets or upgrade to better seats. Tickets available for the Sunday 15 February or the Monday 16th February Para...


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Rio Carnival 2012 | ,04 2010

Last Years Carnival

Last Years Carnival
Samba Parade at Carnaval 2010 Rio Carnival is hot, so come dressed appropriately Street Parades called Blocos are great at Rio Carnival Don't miss the Samba Parade!

Nothing prepared me for the spectacle of the Sambadrome. Nothing. For years I've been telling people that they don't need to wait for Carnaval to visit Brazil, and I still stand firmly by that. But if you can time it right, you'll see the Biggest Party on Earth. Annually.

At the same time Vancouver was atizz with its Winter Olympics, prepared for at a cost of $6billion, expecting 250,000 visitors, Rio had received around 750,000 visitors for Carnaval. As I told my friends back home on my return, there's a big difference between crowds on a street and crowds partying on a street. And Rio becomes one big street party, as hundreds of blocos kick in and take over neighbourhoods, inviting anyone to join in the procession. Brazilians love Carnaval with a religious devotion, which makes sense, given its history.

Most accounts date the roots of Carnaval to a pagan celebration co-opted by the Catholic Church prior to Lent. Carnaval literally means a 'farewell to meat', the last chance to revel before a 40 day period of introspection and abstinence of worldly pleasures. For the religious, Carnaval represents a massive bender before things get solemn. For everyone else, no excuses are necessary. Americans celebrate Mardi Gras, there are variations in Europe, and huge parties are held throughout Latin America.

But it is the Brazilians who have embraced the holiday most, infusing it with samba music, jaw-dropping costumes, street parties and monstrous parades. Brazil's Carnaval origins date back to entrudo, an event for townsfolk to throw water, perfume, or sometimes rotten vegetables at each other, a way to let off a little steam. After slavery was abolished in 1888, thousands of former slaves descended upon the illustrious cities of Sao Paulo and Rio, while many more stayed in Bahia, home of the sugar and cocoa plantations.

Masquerade balls had already been popular amongst the elite for decades, but it was the introduction and development of these former slaves and their samba music - a blend of Angolan beat, European polka, and Latin musical and dance styles - that expanded the celebration of Carnaval to the masses, and into the streets. Today, Carnaval celebrations differ according to various regions in the country. Bahia is famous for its massive, vibrant street parties, while the state of Pernambuco claims the biggest carnaval parade in the world.

In Sao Paolo and Rio, huge stadiums have been built for formal parades and festivities, the most famous being Rio's Sambadrome. Samba schools represent various communities or social groups, and compete with one another in categories of music, costumes, themes, dancers, and performances. For many a gringo like myself, this simply translates into an overwhelming attack of sound and colour. Samba schools practice year round and receive huge financial support from its members, local government, or sponsoring companies. Each school's budget range an estimate $3-$5 million, all for one or two nights. It's an industry, built around a national party, one that doesn't need an International Committee to award it status, or four years to drum up hype.

Notes from the Black Tie Ball at the Copacabana Palace

My rented tuxedo draped a little heavy over the shoulders, but Ana looked like a princess in her rented ball dress. The Balls highlight the annual social calendar, and range from outrageous gay balls to more elite affairs, such as Copacabana Palace. All the balls, mind you, are steeped in hedonism. This is the type of event where VIP lines make way for VIP VIP lines. A troop of celebrity fans yell excitedly at the entrance, as cars pull up depositing Brazilian stars and the odd international celebrity. We lined up with the VIP's, made our way along the red carpet, through heavy security, and into the Palace, the grand old dame of Rio's elite hotels. Costumed performers on stilts, half naked dancers, a never ending flow of champagne, art stars on rollerskates - the night quickly descends into a blur of colour, music and people watching.

I had arrived back from the sparse, open Pantanal just hours before, and suddenly I felt like Dr Gonzo at Circus Circus, inside a room full of talking lizards. Considering we only arrived at midnight, fatigue combined with overstimulation combined with champagne converged into an early morning of decadence. A wrinkled woman from Monaco, dripping in expensive jewelery, tells me Brazil is the future. 'Look at me,' she says. 'All the money in Europe is old. But here in Brazil, it's young. So young, and so beautiful!' I introduce a starstruck Ana to the French actor Vincent Cassel. Gerard Butler is in the house, but I can think of 300 reasons why I didn't see him. There's a huge buffet throughout the night, but at 5am, they serve pasta for those in the throes of a booze-inspired appetite. It hits the spot. Shortly afterward, we quit while we're ahead. In my experience, that?s a sign of real class.

Notes from the Sambadrome

I could go on and on about the floats and the costumes, the music and the mass participation. Lets just leave it that it is, perhaps, a spectacle that I wish everyone could see in their lifetimes, just to witness the seemingly infinite scale of creativity, the community spirit, and the pride of every single performance. It is a Broadway hit, and Olympic opening ceremony, a Hollywood blockbuster and a Vegas show rolled into one, unified procession. It's a competition sure, where the best Samba schools win based on a variety of factors. But it's a competition where everyone wins. The photos speak for themselves.

All in, from the Black Tie Ball to the street parties, the live Monobloco concert we saw in Lapa to the balconies of the Sambadrome, Carnaval exceeded my expectations, bamboozled my mind, and taught me that for a guy who's seen and done so much, there's still a whole lot out there to see and do. I bow my head to the bateria in honour.



Rebbeca Johnson | 04 de noviembre

I won't Miss it. I will be there with GTB!!!! Yeah!!!!

Nicholas Richmond | 04 de noviembre

In 2011 it will start quite late, actually in March. Usually it is towards the end of Febuary. The 2011 dates will be March 4th until March 8th. Don't Miss It!!!!!

Jerry Figgins | 04 de noviembre

What are the dates for 2011 Carnival in Rio?



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