Brazil moves Carnaval to July 2021

Samba drums Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Our thanks to Flavia Oliveira for use of this image.

In 1977, Meatloaf had a big hit called ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’. As far as we know, the song never made it as a samba for Carnaval. But it might next year when Brazil moves Carnaval to July 2021.

“Brazil moves Carnaval to July 2021?”  That’s a sentence we never thought we’d write.

Today, Carnaval organizers from both Sao Paulo and Salvador made an official announcement which could upend more than a hundred years of tradition.

Carnaval’s dates for these two cities have been moved from their usual pre-Lenten positions to July 8th through the 11th. Other cities are also considering a switch as Brazil moves Carnaval to July 2021.

But what about Rio?

Rio de Janerio has yet to agree, and no one is confident that Carnaval’s #1 city will sign on to the idea of hosting The World’s Largest Party during Brazil’s Coldest Month.

Earlier this week, the Independent League of Samba Schools in Rio de Janeiro (LIESA) has indicated that they now prefer to wait for the arrival of a vaccine against COVID-19.

Instead, the Marvelous City is tinkering with a few of their own ideas. Topping the list? A virtual Carnaval for 2021. Of course.

The upside sounds better: Use the funds to help Rio’s Samba Schools bridge the revenue gap until 2022. A final meeting in January 2021 is planned.

Rio’s situation could change, but there are other concerns too. More on this below.

Brazil’s Carnaval Conundrum

COVID-19’s health, social and political issues are real and ongoing. Every world economy has been weakened by China’s virus, including Brazil.

But while other countries are keeping China at arm’s length over secrecy about the virus’s exact point of origin, along with troubling 5G security issues with Huawei, Brazil is holding the door open.

Apparently, the same applies to China’s nearly-essential role with Carnaval. Over the years, the ups and downs of political and financial support for the Samba Schools has resulted in attractive offers from China. Say what now?

Yesterday, we found this quote from Rio de Janeiro Carnaval specialist/Blogger Dam Menezes in a story from

“The material for making costumes comes from China. China is not exporting. [Samba] Schools would have to recycle old material. A school parade, however cheap, costs R$ 5 million.”

Menezes continued, pointing to a typical Samba School‘s dilemma: “Let’s say it gets R$ 1.5 million from the government and R$ 2 million from TV Globo. You can’t do big carnival with that.”

The Politics of Dancing

Then there’s the struggling Brazilian economy, which poses more questions.

Who will choose to spend their money on tickets and costume balls in the midst of the Brazilian winter? Who will want to brave the chilly (and rainy) weather? Will most folks pass on Carnaval in July, to wait for 2022?

No one in Brazil knows the answers to these questions; they a real concern for the men, women and families who depend on Carnaval’s economy to support their own.

So, Brazil moves Carnaval to July 2021 and Carnaval’s Big Three has been reduced to a much-weaker two. That’s the lesson here.

Might make a good Carnaval theme, right Meatloaf?

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