The Red and Black Ball is an annual event held during Carnival that is renowned for being one of its most exciting and crazy events. The Red & Black theme is in honour of the colours of the football team Flamengo, which is a top Rio team.
It's held at the Scala, which is a huge venue located in Leblon. Tickets are available from the venue up to a few hours before the events kick off. It’s admittedly not cheap, but well worth it.
Dress code: well, obviously you have to wear red and black. They have been known to turn away people who are not dressed appropriately, and people here do go all out, so it's worth making an effort.
As we enter the venue, it is absolutely packed, sweat is dripping off the ceiling, and you can't move without rubbing up on someone by accident. But nobody seems to mind - in fact, that seems to be the idea!
We are immediately groped by a huge group of guys who all seem to want to have a go. This isn't the half-hearted bum-pinching that you're used to in London nightclubs - this is full-on. You can try shouting and pushing back, but it won't do any good. And the bruises will last for a good few days. Fortunately, they all seem to calm down when the clock hits 1am - not too sure why that is, but it comes as a relief!
The music is samba, which is brilliant fun to dance to, even if you don't know the moves. Besides, leave all of that professional stuff to the girls on the stage in their amazing and incredibly skimpy costumes, complete with feather headdresses. They put on an amazing show.
The crowd is going wild. There are women dancing up on their boyfriend’s shoulders, some throwing their tops into the crowd and going topless, and men are dancing away next to us on the dance floor wearing nothing put tiny Speedos and flip-flops. Everyone is completely up for it and friendly. And drunk!
Drinks in here are on the token system, which means you have to buy your tokens in one place before taking them to the bar to get your drinks. The queues at each stop are pretty huge, so make sure that you get all of your tokens for the night in one go, and then make sure you get doubles at the bar!
The night goes till morning. I think it goes till 6am, but the evening gets quite hazy after a point. I remember that we were among the last few on the dance floor, but I don't think that we quite made it to the bitter end. We did pretty well, though - an amazing night. Highly recommend!