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Brazil’s 2013 Cultural Calendar
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Brazil’s 2013 Cultural Calendar

Picture of Melissa Pearce
Updated: 12 December 2015
A nation that is celebrated for its cultural festivities, Brazil’s annual calendar has some of the world’s biggest and most famous festivals and events. Home to the second oldest Biennial art fair, the momentous Rock in Rio festival and the world renowned Rio Carnival, Brazil sets the bar for celebrations of culture and heritage. Discover the best events and festivals still yet to come in the 2013.

MIMO Cultural festival

Olinda: 23 August – 08 September

In its beginnings the Mostra Internacional de Música de Olinda (International Music Showcase of Olinda), was a festival that brought together the history and culture of Brazil through a celebration of music. Ten years on the festival continues to combine these themes, and its popularity has enabled it to appear across three cities: Olinda, Ouro Preto and Paraty. All historically rich, these additional locations highlight the importance that Brazil holds on cultural heritage. The musical performances take place within churches and courtyards, which enhance the stoic ambience and combine melodious experiences with historical architecture.

Rio Book Fair

Rio de Janeiro: 29 August – 08 September

For 30 years, the Rio Book Fair has succeeded in promoting Brazilian literature, and today is the country’s most important publishing event. Held every other year, the event in 2013 will include discussions on contemporary issues such as feminine viewpoints in the unique ‘Women Only’ programme. Within the fair, the ‘Literary Café’ is a popular event that brings together newcomers and established authors to discuss various creative ideas and processes. The event also supports schools, with specific programmes for local students which emphasise the importance of building a strong reading habit from a young age. Held at the Riocentro Convention Centre, the book fair puts an emphasis on being casual and fun, encouraging people to view literature with a more outgoing perspective.

ArtRio – Rio de Janeiro International Contemporary Art Fair

Rio de Janeiro: 5 September – 9 September

The warehouses located in Rio de Janeiro’s port side, Píer Mauá, are home to one of the most important contemporary art fairs of the year. Showing the best Brazilian contemporary art, in addition to international works, ArtRio brings together over 100 galleries selected by some of the most revered names in the art world, from Anita Schwartz to Greg Lulay. A highlight event is the SOLO programme, now in its third year, which chooses a selection of artists to create works inspired by a specific artist and their works. Displaying experimental works of art from large scale installations to smaller painted works, the fair will also promote the Blooks Bookstore, which will present book launches and workshops.

Rock in Rio

Rio de Janeiro: September 13 – 22

Rock in Rio was born in Brazil, and whilst it now occurs across three locations including Portugal and Spain, its motherland is surely the best place to witness this world famous music event. The festival has taken the lead as the largest in the world; during its initiation year in 1985 it held a staggering 1.5 million people and had some of the biggest names in music history including Queen and Yes. 2013 will follow tradition and sees an incredibly diverse and varied selection of performers on stage, from Slayer to Beyonce and Muse. In recent years, Rock in Rio has used its popularity to begin sustainable initiatives such as outreach programmes and educational workshops, working with schools and partner organisations to develop their project ‘For a Better World’.

Brasílla Festival of Brazilian Cinema

Brasília: 17 – 24 September

The Festival de Brasília showcases some of the best contemporary Brazilian cinema through a series of workshops, screenings, seminars, debates and forums. Now in its 45th edition, the festival is celebrated for looking at an array of genres of film, from fiction and animation to documentary. Promoting several cultural aspects of Brazil, the festival is solely dedicated to Brazilian cinema, making it stand out from other festivals of this kind. In its agenda to make culture readily available to the public, the festival asks pressing questions about the purpose of film beyond the realms of simple entertainment, as a means of aiding society and public needs.

Bienal de São Paulo

São Paulo: 21 September – 08 December

In its 30th edition, the 2013 Biennial will focus on the transformations in Brazilian art and how this nation’s art forms have changed and adapted over the past three decades, from the Biennial’s beginnings in 1951. The event will be curated by Paulo Venancio Filho who has placed an emphasis on the Biennial’s role in setting the foundations for modern and contemporary Brazilian art. Since 1951 approximately 5000 Brazilian artists have participated, and the event will exhibit some rare works and artefacts from the its history as it stands as the second oldest biennial in existence, next to the Biennial di Venezia. An incredible exhibition of works of visual art from bold Pop Art to conceptual Abstraction, the event will also hold several education programmes that will reflect on the timeframe, concepts and artists behind the Biennial.

Oktoberfest Brazil

Blumenau: 3 – 20 October

Bringing together over half a million people every year, the veteran festival Oktoberfest takes place in the city of Blumenau and is a celebration of both German and Brazilian cultures. By merging the two it has created one of the most popular events on Brazil’s annual calendar. The celebrations will feature folk musical groups, parades, historic competitions, regional and German cuisines, and of course an incredibly varied selection of beers from some of the most famous and niche breweries in the world. The festival has been held annually since 1945 and its history dates back to 1810. Through exploring its history the event provides educational information on folklore, music and dance, in addition to historic customs.

São Paolo International Film Festival

São Paulo: 18 – 31 October

The 2013 São Paulo International Film Festival sees the event in its 37th year. This incredible festival displays a varied selection of world cinema, with a focus on the contemporary. Showing approximately 300 films from around the world, viewers will be able to choose from an impressive 22 movie halls that are dotted around the city of São Paulo, the locations of which range from cinemas themselves to museums and cultural institutions. By looking closely at these contemporary moving art forms, participants of the festival will be encouraged to assess new themes and styles that are suggested across all cinema. Events themselves will include screenings, awards and premiers.

Natal Luz

Gramado: 12 November – 13 January

The largest Christmas event in Brazil, the Natal Luz or ‘Christmas of Lights’ has grown from a small musical event orchestrated by the famous Eleazar de Carvalho, to a vast celebration that welcomes over one million patrons every year. Held in the fairly small and very scenic city of Gramado, the event includes incredible performances from orchestra professionals, in addition to full choirs, poetry readings and firework displays. All of this is enhanced by a wonderful array of light displays, giving the event a very festive and jovial ambience. With a programme full of live music and parades, the opening night sees an incredible performance that combines water screens, light shows and fireworks that tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Festa Literária Internacional das UPPS (FLUPP)

Rio de Janeiro: 20 – 24 November

This literary festival seeks to bring together members of the public through the exchange of literary experiences, in the form of meetings, workshops and readings. The events include ‘FLUPP Park’ which arranges outreach programmes to children, creating groups that will encourage discussions around reading, books, knowledge of literature and cultural issues. Participants will have the opportunity to interact with writers, artists and illustrators about cultural and literary hot topics. Other activities in November will include two participating artists from Afghanistan: the writer and poet Suhrab Sirat who is involved in the women’s rights movement, and Soosan Firooz, an Afghan acres and rapper who has been heralded as Afghanistan’s first female rapper.

By Melissa Pearce