January is vacation month for schools and government offices, so everyone is partying it up day and night. Most of the upper class won’t be in Rio this month, but can be found in Buzios, Ilha Grande and Paraty, as well as other parts of Brazil. The samba club rehearsals are heating up, so attend as many as you can.
20th of January
Saint Sebastian Day: Only in Rio
To get the most up-to-date info on the carnival parties, visit our site at
Carnival is also the largest party of the year here: 190 million people partying for a week. If you are here during carnival, be sure to get tickets for the Samba school parade held at the Sambodromo, or wait till the Saturday after carnival and watch the top 5 winning schools parade for the second time (Desfile das Campeãs). See page 106 for more info.
Electronic Dance Music Festivals
Different international brands have been sponsoring music events bringing famous international DJs. Pricey entrance, but a very well-behaved crowd at properly structured venues.
Carnaporto- off-season 6 day music fest/street party in Porto Seguro – BA
Easter is a big event in Brazil, as this is a 90% catholic country. A national holiday occurs on Good Friday, so people tend to take the whole week off. Everyone goes somewhere, so if you are in Rio, it is a fun time to visit Buzios, Paraty or Ilha Grande.
21st of April
Tiradentes Day (Independence hero)
23rd of April
Saint George’s Day (Only in Rio)
A music festival sponsored by Skol, the beer brand. Lots of national and international DJs playing dance music.
1º de Maio- Labor Day
May 1st is Brazil’s Labor Day, when no one works. Some larger parties and concerts may be sponsored by clubs or rave- promoting companies.
Comida di Buteco
Most bars participate in this month-long bar-foods competition. Each bar around town invents a new dish and serves it to customers, along with a ballot. After a month, it’s all tallied and a bar is crowned the king of the Comida di Buteco for that year. Ideal for foodies and drinkers.
Festa Junina is a hilarious hick fest. Everyone dresses like hill-billies and goes square dancing, Brazilian style of course. Usually these events are held between large groups of friends (100 or more), but some are run by party promotion companies. Def worth a visit. Ask your concierge for the public ones sprinkled throughout the city. Please dress the part!
Shifting in June.
Belo Horizonte-Minas Gerais
Petropolis, Teresopolis and Friburgo host a 2 week winter festival (weekends mostly), with different shows, food stands, drinking etc.
Fortal – off season 4 day music fest/street party.
Micarecandanga – off-season 3 day music fest/street party.
Off-season 3 day music fest/street party in Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais
Rock in Rio
The biggest rock concert on earth, with one week of shows, with big names in classic rock as well as the flavour of the month.
7th of September
Raves come and go in Rio, as government pressure mounts to stop them. Most are held in outdoor areas, country clubs or huge garden complexes. The rave culture hasn’t influenced people’s fashion style yet, so you may see thousands of people wearing regular clothes. Also, the recreational drugs associated with raves (you know what I’m talking about) are scarce and expensive compared to London and Berlin. During the summer, look for beach raves along Ipanema after midnight.
12 of October
Our Lady of Aparition – Brazil’s Holy Lady
The German beer drinking festival, run by Brazil’s German community. What could be a better mix?
Blumenau, Santa Catarina
Parties on Sugar Loaf
Famous Brazilian bands performing on top of Urca Hill, (the one before Sugar Loaf), overlooking the city at night. The setting couldn’t be better, the crowd well-selected and the atmosphere is as cool and romantic as it gets. As soon as you get to Rio ask around for which bands are worth checking out, as the styles vary. Shows going on between November and Carnival.
2nd of November
Finados (Day of the Dead)
15th of November
Proclamation of the Republic
20th of November
Zumbi Dos Palmares: Black Consciousness Day (Rio only)
Lighting of the xmas tree on lagoa
The world’s largest Xmas tree is lit up 4 weeks before Xmas, remaining lit till after NYE. Take a bottle of champagne and go on a trip on the paddle boats at night, getting closer to the tree.
NYE is huge in Rio. It is actually the largest get-together in the World: over 2 million people gather on Copabacana beach to watch the firework displays. (See page 107 for more info.)
24th-25th Dec. (duh)
Carnatal – off season 4 day music fest/street party in Natal, RN.
A word on free Events in Brazil
If it is free, there will be at least a million people there. If it is good, another 2 million. If you are in Rio during the time a major free concert is taking place, ask for the paid venues and parties to watch it from: VIP areas, apartments or boats with a view all may cost you R$200 or more, but will guarantee you a safe time, less hassles and all you can eat and drink (usually). Don’t skimp out.