There’s nothing quite like a festival for bringing like-minded souls together. Whether it’s a music gathering, a literary fest or a motorsport rally, you can be sure that if you go to the trouble of attending you won’t be disappointed.
The Joao Pessoa Motorbike Festival is no exception, though it may be a little further afield than the average festival-goer is used to travelling. If you’re not into your motorbikes, we wouldn’t suggest you made the trip especially all your way from Blighty. But if you know your Harley from your Yamaha and are in search of a little off-season sunshine, consider making Joao Pessoa Motorbike Festival the next stop on your holiday agenda.
Joao Pessoa is a medium-sized city perched on the northeast coast of Brazil between Recife and Natal. It marks the most eastern point of the Americas and is close enough to the Equator that you are guaranteed warmth whenever you visit and plenty of sun during the dry season which runs roughly from October to April.
The Motorcycle Festival is run by the city’s motorcycle club and is known locally as the Motofest, or the Rota del Sol. It takes place in late October or early November each year and usually marks the beginning of the high summer season – at a time when Europe is just plunging into the depths of yet another cold, wet, dark winter.
Joao Pessoa occupies an enviable position right on the coast, with most of the cultural action taking place away from the bustling city centre on the sweeping sea front that stretches from Cabo Branco to the south to Intermares to the North. The boardwalk has been fully renovated and rejuvenated over the past few years, creating a continuous boulevard that is dotted with beach bars, upscale restaurants, snack bars, ice cream parlours, boutiques and market stalls. No matter when you visit there is plenty to do and see – if you can tear yourself away from languishing on the seafront with a caiprinha that is. But it is when a festival takes place that the area really comes to life.
The Motorcycle Festival sees the wide sandy beach play host to all manner of events, exhibitions, demonstrations and market stalls selling biking paraphernalia. A large concert bowl is erected for evening entertainment, which can be enjoyed by anyone in the area, not just the fortunate ticketed few. Spend your time wandering around the stalls, jumping on and off your favourite bikes and enjoying some delicious Brazilian street food to the backdrop of heavy rock or steamy salsa depending on the time of day. Last year’s event was attended by 35,000 and over 300 motorcycle clubs from all over Brazil. An international event it is not, but an opportunity to experience Brazilian culture at is very best and most vibrant, it certainly is.