Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Cariocas Empolgados

Slowly changing the face of Rio's music scene

According to common wisdom, entrepreneurial innovation arises from a need or a shortage, something missing in the loop that's destined to make our lives better before we know we need it. In Rio, that shortage is felt every time a red-hot international band makes the long haul to Brazil from Europe or the US only to bypass Rio altogether, play São Paulo and then head south or into Argentina. The fools.

Who's to blame? Short-sighted promoters? Greedy venues? An unadventurous carioca music-loving public? Bemoaning the status quo was always the easy part. There are social networks full of angry bedroom indie fans desperate to hear their heroes play in their hometown.

Feeling that pain but prepared to actually do something about it, six thirtysomething friends - photographers, producers, directors and publicists - teamed up to organize the gigs themselves and with the help of other genuine music fans. Bruno Natal, Tiago Lins, Pedro Seiler, Felipe Continentino, Pedro Garcia and Lucas Bori are Cariocas Empolgados (literally, Excited Cariocas), turning crowdsourcing - actions developed by the self-organized masses to make something collectively possible without reliance on sponsorship or outside support - into a reality in Rio.

By discovering the production costs of the bands that they love, dividing that amount into equal individual units, and hitting those very same social networking sites, these 'units' can be sold directly to the market and then, with sufficient demand, become tickets to the show itself. Simple, effective and popular; like all the best ideas.

"We knew there was a public out there because we were that audience too," says Bruno Natal, one of the founders. "There were some cool shows but they were poorly marketed and tickets were too expensive. As big fans of live music ourselves, we have the chance to organize the event in such a way as we would like it to be - punctuality, for instance… no more gigs which start at 1am on a Monday night!"

Darlings of the indie scene like Belle and Sebastian, Miike Snow, LCD Soundsystem, Primal Scream and Vampire Weekend have all now graced Circo Voador in Lapa courtesy of the website, which offers a first block of fully refundable tickets (usually one hundred at between R$200-$280), and for every ticket sold thereafter, the difference is reimbursed.

At the packed Miike Snow show for example, that initial hundred 'investors' got all their money back, having become an ad hoc marketing team as they themselves spread the word, while the Cariocas Empolgados made just R$100 out of the night. The project was always for love not profit, and they are proud to be the first Brazilian organisers to work with this concept of refundable tickets.

On top of which, the shift in attitude behind the event's very being changes the whole experience of the gigs. Everyone there can literally feel a part of the show, that it is happening because of their contribution, and that new energy in the crowd is utterly unique.

"And the reward or profit for us as organizers," continues Bruno, "is to watch the gig we chose to bring, for free, in our home town, and that from the beginning was our ultimate goal." At the end of September the Primal Scream 'Screamadelica' show epitomised the magic, falling twenty years to the day since the release of the album and drawing a truly empolgado performance from Bobby Gillespie and his band.

Bruno admits himself that he and the team suffered somewhat after the first four shows and that the end of 2010 couldn't come soon enough, but with their first ever 'Eu Quero Festival' - headlined by Beady Eye, there's no sign of a let up. In an age of touts and online scams forcing the price of fans' tickets through the roof, queremos.com.br has delivered a little dose of good old-fashioned love for the art form back into gigging. Long may it continue.

Words by Doug Gray
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