This past weekend I attended the first annual Rock in Rio USA music festival . It’s a two weekend festival with different main acts each weekend. I went the pop weekend and had a blast listening to headliners Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars along with all the other great acts.
Rock in Rio USA is a spin off of the widely popular festival extravaganza in Rio de Janerio. Since this was the first year there were some bumps along the way, but overall the weekend was a blast. I wanted to share some tips and tricks for future festival goers because I couldn’t find anything on these things when I was trying to figure out what to expect for the weekend.
Take the monorail or walk. Streets are blocked off, if you’re staying at hotel on the sections of the street blocked off you just had to show a key card or reservation confirmation to the police to be allowed through.
You’re not going to get the dust like at Coachella because it’s all AstroTurf and paved pathways!
Hallelujah! There’s real bathrooms! With real soap, sinks and paper towels!
Water? Water? No free water?? You’re allowed to bring in one sealed bottle of water a day. When you run out it’s $4 a pop.
At other festivals, riding the ferris wheel is not free. Here it is!
And they have a zip-line too! It took us about 4 hours to get through the line, but it was worth it. The line is right between the Mercedes stage and Main stage, so it was a good area to wait at since we were able to listen to both as we zig-zagged our way to the front.
The line crosses right in front of the main stage, I got a good millisecond view of Echosmith when they were on Friday.
Main Stage + Mercedes Stage:
The majority of the main acts were on the main stage and Mercedes stage. Interestingly right before the headline each night there was a mini fireworks show. In Taylor Swift’s case, it felt like it was a distinct end of Rock in Rio for the day and the beginning of her 1989 World Tour.
Acts not on the main stages
This was where there were a few bumps. They were the same acts for both Friday and Saturday. But what we saw were all entertaining!
There was also an altar where you could get married? We never saw one going on when we passed by, but that was what we heard.
Dressing for the festival:
It was surprisingly colder than expected for a festival in the desert. It’s nowhere near as hot as the temps of Coachella and found that it was better to wear pants and slightly warmer clothes than shorts and a crop top.
Food + Drinks
Cashless system = had to load money onto your wristband online or at designated top off stations at the festival. The idea is great because then you don’t have to carry cash or a credit card around that you could potentially lose.
Downside is if you don’t spend it all, you get the money back minus a $3.50 transaction fee. And they would only let you load a minimum of $10 at a time. So it felt like they are pushing you to use all your money or wouldn’t even let you spend it all. I had $1.87 left which could get me nothing and I couldn’t even get a refund because of the transaction fee. So I walked to a food stall and asked to give a tip only, they could only take them in dollar increments apparently, so I ended up with 0.87 leftover still. I was thirst at the end of the night but didn’t want to have to walk around trying to spend an additional $10, so I waited it out and guzzled water when we got back to our hotel room.
From the Mercedes stage up to the main the booths for food and drinks were the same on both sides of the grounds. The back half of the festival was where there was more food and drink options for a better price too. There were a few places selling booze in fun containers like a long lady’s leg and hollow guitars. You could go back with the same container to get refills as the day went on.
There are three checkpoints. First one is where they want to see your wristband but not scan it and where they have bins set up so you can throw away drinks and other items not allowed into the festival.
Second checkpoint is the bag check and quick pat down for women. They decided to designate female and male lines. For the ladies we can a quick skim around the stomach area and back by a female worker.
Then the third and final checkpoint is where they actually scan your wristband. You are able to leave and come back to the festival once a day. Above is where we finally made it to the third point where we needed to scan our wristbands.
Everything went surprisingly smoothly for it being the first year for this festival. Of course there are minor tweaks that would make it better, but overall we had a great time. We were very sad for the festival to end Saturday night. Hopefully we’ll be back next year!