The Stones will follow Obama to Cuba
The Rolling Stones announced on Tuesday that the group will play a free concert in Havana on March 25, becoming the most famous act to play in Cuba since its 1959 revolution.
The Stones will play in Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva three days after President Barack Obama visits Havana.
“We have performed in many special places during our long career but this show in Havana is going to be a landmark event for us, and, we hope, for all our friends in Cuba, too,” the band says in a statement.
Along with easing many restrictions on foreign music, art and literature, the Cuban government has increasingly allowed large gatherings not organized by the state in recent years. The Stones concert will almost certainly be one of the largest since Cuba began easing its limits on some nonofficial gatherings in the 1990s.
Inthe same week as the visits byObamaand The Rolling Stones, the Tampa Bay Rays are expected to play the first Major League Baseball exhibition game in Cuba since 1999, part of an extraordinary string of events in a country that spent the Cold War isolated from the United States and its allies.
Cuba and its capital have been flooded with tourists, visiting dignitaries and celebrities more than a year after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced on Dec 17, 2014, that they were moving to normalize relations.
Cuban fans have been buzzing about a possible concert by “Los Rollings” since lead singer Mick Jagger visitedHavana in October.
“It’s part of a dream to see the greatest icons of music who couldn’t come before for various reasons, above all Cuba’s isolation,” says Cuban music critic Joaquin Borges Triana. “The Rolling Stones are going to magically unite generations of Cubans, from people in their 60s to their children and grandchildren.”
The Havana Concert for Amity will cap the Stones’ America Latina Ole tour through seven Latin American cities. The band says it will donate instruments and other musical equipment from sponsors to Cuban musicians during their visit.
The Stones concert is expected to take place in a more relaxed political environment, as the US and Cuban governments move rapidly to make their new relationship appear irreversible before the end of Obama’s term.
The Rolling Stones perform a concert on their AmericaLatinaOle tour in Santiago, Chile, on Feb 3. The band will perform a free outdoor concert in Havana on March 25.