Rock In Rio’s CEO Luis Justo – Midem 2014

DMT chats with the CEO of Rock In Rio Luis Justo on the festival’s future plans including the first US festival in Las Vegas in 2015, the partnership with SFX, the numbers of the festival, brand partnerships and more.

00:23 Rock in Rio introduction.  “The price of Rock In Rio in 1985 was just 8 dollars so it needed to be huge to be financially feasible, the first edition was 1.3 million people.”
“It also needs to be a platforms to sponsorships and brands to make it happen: in the very first edition Brahma – a local Brazilian beer – invested 25 million dollars in the festival.” “Usually Rock In Rio is every other year in each country where we are, it’s going to be in 2015 in Rio and in 2014 in Lisbon. We’re also starting in May 2015 in Las Vegas – and it’s going to be every other year after that.

04:12 How are you going to position yourselves in the States?

“We are going to start the campaign in March to talk about Rock In Rio and make people understand that it’s a really premium festival.”

05:20 You recently started a close partnership with SFX, how did that come about and how is that affecting the way that you operate and perhaps helping in that respect?

“The founders of SFX and Rock In Rio had a lot in common in their creativity and in the way the approach the market. They saw a possible collaboration with Rock In Rio’s expertise especially in communication and sponsorship. We raised $52 million in sponsorship for our 2015 edition. The brands return every time and this proves that there is return on their investment. We know how to use our festival as a platform for brands that want to connect with music. SFX have huge EDM festivals so there are a lot of synergies not only in the US market but also in the coming years around the world.”

07:10 Starting with the content side, how do you plan the delivery of content on a worldwide basis?

“We have a set of local and global media partners in each country where we operate, we start communicating about the festival a year before the event so there’s a lot of planned content that we create. For our first US festival we have cable and radio partnerships as well as of course digital. Rock In Rio has more than ten million followers across social networks.”

09:27 And technology is enabling you to keep the momentum of the event going in spite of it only being every couple of years….

10:00 Looking at the on-site experience what are you considering in terms of new technologies to make the on-sit experience smoother?

“In the last edition in Brazil we sold out 600,000 tickets in 4 hours, 100,000 tickets were sold in a pre-sale 10 months in advance with no bands announced. People know they will have a really good experience, you can do zip-lining and lots of different other activities.” “Some festivals are already using RFID technology and we are going in that direction as well. For payment but also for interacting with the brands that you have inside of Rock In Rio. This is already happening: some of our sponsors have their own RFID bracelets for brand activation and this is an area where we’re looking to invest.”

12:03 Looking at your background for a long time you were the CEO of a lifestyle and luxury brand in Brazil, so how did the transition to Rock In Rio come about and how are you applying some of that experience in the Festival?

“Rock In Rio is in a completely different industry than fashion but what we do at Rock in Rio is all about branding and experience. That brand was based in Brazilian lifestyle experience and what we do at Rock in Rio is exactly the same when it comes to communications, spreading the word about our festival.


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