Alongside awakening giants India, China and Southeast Asia, Brazil is the next major territory for globally inclined festival brands. With a burgeoning homegrown market and audience traveling more and more, the demand for world-class lineups, production and experiences is increasing every year, and a handful of bold international festival brands conquering Brazil. But as with any major new venture into a fresh territory, knowing the nuance of the audience and business landscape is key. “It is extremely important that festival producers do their research before coming here,” said André Bertolucci, Intellitix’s Director of Business Development in Brazil. “The fans here want that unique brand experience that comes with each of these festivals. But the brands that see the most success are those that tweak their formula for the region, mixing global tastes with local insights and sensibilities.” André explains that while international promoters bringing their concepts to Brazil shows enormous potential and faith in the market, they should strive to work with local partners to make the experience as smooth as possible. There are a number of high profile European and American brands that are doing just that: taking their in-demand concepts and working them into a culture steeped in a history of festivities and parties. We’re going to look at some of those events and what makes them really stand out in this bold new marketplace.
The Dutch house and techno tastemaker Dekmantel recently announced that it was hosting its sophomore Brazilian venture at Playcenter, an abandoned theme park in São Paulo. The label-festival hybrid has been seriously putting the work in to crack the South American market of late, with a six-date club tour recently concluding in the region. But there’s no doubt that the biggest prize is Brazil and that the audience has completely bought into their concept. They first debuted their expertly curated leftfield festival in the country’s largest and funkiest city earlier this year, booking a predictably discerning mix of interesting local and international acts. 2018 will see Four Tet, Nina Kraviz, Mano Le Tough, Modeselektor and Young Marco join scores of Brazilian selectors, showing that a blend of homegrown talent and big names is a winning formula.
Another Dutch underground dance brand that has highlighted Brazil as the next major market is DGTL. Hailing from the gritty NDSM Dockyards of Amsterdam, DGTL seek out equally industrial locations for their events, and Brazil’s monolithic industrial hub of São Paulo was the obvious choice. DGTL are well-known for their mixture of cutting-edge music and installations, while always putting sustainability at the core of their event. We have featured DGTL before in Intellitix, spotlighting their progressive environmental initiatives, one of which included turning urine into beer… Much like Dekmantel, they acknowledge that a blend of local and international is key, recognizing that a big draw for a marquee European festival coming into town is the wealth of global names in tow.
The Miami-born EDM heavyweight Ultra has been in Brazil since 2008, and it has played an enormous role in cracking open the market to other international festival brands, while introducing the local scene to some of the biggest global dance acts. Known for mind-melting production and an A-list of superstar DJs, Ultra Brazil matches the carnival city of Rio de Janeiro for flair and exuberance and draws in over 60,000 fans over the course of the weekend. 2018 will see Ultra move to the iconic Maracanã Stadium, and there’s no doubt that they will continue to bring a slew of the biggest acts in dance music to the party capital of the southern hemisphere.
The New York City mainstay Electric Zoo has been one of the most influential dance music festivals in America, having established itself in the pre-EDM era and surging in popularity throughout. The last couple of years have seen the brand expand beyond Randall’s Island and venture into Shanghai, Mexico City, and São Paulo. “I was extremely impressed to see how diverse the crowd was,” notes Michael Julian, marketing director for Electric Zoo and Made Event. “We had many different kinds of people coming out, and even though it rained the entire time, everyone was dancing like crazy and showing us a lot of love.” Michael also noted that the local stage, dubbed “The Tree House,” was packed all weekend, again highlighting the necessity to create a platform for local talent. “It’s always really encouraging for us to come to a new country and see such strong support for the homegrown talent. That’s really essential for building a lasting, diverse scene.”
Chicago-based Lollapalooza is one of the world’s most recognizable and respected festival brands, and its global reach has seen editions in Chile, Argentina, Germany, Paris and of course, Brazil.
The festival made its debut in Brazil in 2011, and its inclusion on this list shows that it isn’t just dance music that’s thriving in the country these days and that there is still a huge appetite for major rock and alternative acts.
Intellitix was present at the 2017 edition of Lollapalooza Brazil, powering the cashless wristbands and access control for the two-day event. We had a fantastic time and greatly enjoyed the distinctly Brazilian interpretation of this truly global festival brand.
While fortune is certainly favoring the brave, Wade Cawood of ticketing and editorial platform Pulse Global has been paying particular attention to the region, and he advises that promoters think carefully before making the jump into this competitive space. “There is no doubt Brazil is exploding,” he told Intellitix, “but I believe a cautious approach is needed from the international brands so as to not drown the Brazilian market with big festival names that lack diversity. It’s hugely important that this international presence doesn’t stifle the opportunities for local promoters to develop their own brands.”