There were two nights of parades.
Twelve samba schools performed.
Each was given 82 minutes to cover the 700 meter long performance strip.
Doing it quicker diminishes the impact. Taking longer, costs points. This year, one of Rio’s greatest samba schools went over their allotted time by more than 20 minutes – an all time record faux pas.
The total performance time, each night, was in excess of eight hours.
An average of 3,500 people represented each school.
Add it up: that comes to more than 21,000 performers a night.
Unfortunately, the Sambodrome, the “stadium” where the event is held, was built back in 1984.
And it only holds about 70,000 people.
That’s far too small for today’s demand, and tickets are hard to come by.
So most people watch it on television.
The networks that do the coverage take it very seriously. They’d be crucified if they didn’t.
Rede Globo is the largest network in Brazil, the largest commercial network in the world outside the United States. Their crew, this year, numbered just under 2,000 people. And more than forty of their cameras were working at the same time.
More than a million tourists came to town for the event.
The large majority didn’t manage to get in to see the parades, but most
of them had a great time anyway.
There are always lots of other things going on during Carnival week, things like Carnival balls and blocos, tiny samba schools that circulate
through many neighborhoods.
Sometimes people ask me if it’s safe to come to Rio for Carnival.
The answer is yes. Even the thieves seem to take Carnival off, and the Sambodrome, on parade days, is considered to be the safest place in South America.
Next year Carnival will kick off on February 17th.
Tickets cost from twenty to five-hundred US dollars. You should expect to spend at least two hundred to get a good spot.
And, if you really want to go, it’s not too early to place your order.
Yes, but it’s unique.
And, if you go, you’ll never forget it.
Leighton - Monday