Located in front of the birthplace of the first Rock in Rio festival, the Parque Olímpico Cidade do Rock is a massive open-air venue with a bit of an identity crisis. With at least three official names (cariocas know it as both Parque dos Atletas and Nova Cidade do Rock) and a design that favours aesthetics over sound quality, the space is a hybrid between an Olympic park for the 2016 mega event and space for large-scale concerts. A result of a partnership between Rock in Rio founder, Roberto Medina, and Rio's mayor's office, which 'donated' the land it was bult on, the park also serves as the permanent home of the Rock in Rio festival.
With a capacity of over 130,000, the Parque Olímpico Cidade do Rock has become the go-to venue for some of the biggest music acts that pass through the city. Since its inauguration in 2011, the space has received giants of the likes of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as the princess and the queen of pop themselves, Lady Gaga and Madonna. Set across a crescent-shaped 150,000m2 area in Jacarepaguá, the park features sculptures, glossy synthetic grass and a main stage overlooking a small lagoon. So far so attractive.
Unfortunately for those who live outside the Zona Oeste, the venue's remote location means attending a concert requires substantial advance planning. Arriving early by public transportation is advised as Barra traffic around the Cidade do Rock can transcend the usual chaos into pandemonium on show days, and the venue usually (and inexplicably) closes off its parking lot to concert-goers during show nights. Grab a taxi (around R$75 from Ipanema) if you have more cash than patience.