Backstage invasion as quarter of a million descend on Rock In Rio III for the final night of Brazil's biggest ever music festival...

ROCK IN RIO III, the biggest festival ever held in BRAZIL, drew to a close yesterday (January 21) with sets by DEFTONES, SILVERCHAIR and the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, drawing the biggest audience to the event yet, with a full capacity of 250,000 people.

And NME.COM can announce that the festival will kick off for a fourth outing on January 4, 2003. Organisers have revealed, however, that they plan to stage Country In Rio in July, where Pink Floyd are expected to perform.

While the event had been largely trouble-free, police reported that over 150 people forced their way in through the artists’ gate last night, and by midnight 52 guns had been confiscated. There were a few robberies and at least three pickpockets were arrested.

However, the late surge of trouble did not lessen the impact or the atmosphere of the festival. The performances on the main stage were opened by a 20-minute set from Diesel, an unsigned Brazilian group who were voted on to the bill of the festival by Internet users.

After the Chili Peppers finished their set, there was a huge firework display to commemorate the end of the seven-day music extravaganza, the biggest ever held in Brazil, which delivered 160 hours and 40 minutes of music, 1,186 songs performed live and 265 tons of litter to over a million people.

Rock In Rio III gave the Brazilian public the opportunity to see for the first time bands and artists such as REM, Deftones, Foo Fighters, Neil Young, Britney Spears and Papa Roach. Others were ‘old pals’, such as Guns N’Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Taylor and Sting.

For the duration of the festival, NME.COM’s reporters have been bringing a full rundown of news, gossip and reviews, plus exclusive pictures. To find out what you missed, or relive it if you were there click on to our fantastic Rock In Rio mini-site

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