HAVANA, Cuba, Thursday March 3, 2016 – On March 25, within days of the historic visit by US President Barack Obama, Havana will host a free open air concert by the iconic British rock band the Rolling Stones at Ciudad Deportiva, the city’s sports complex.
The show, billed as the Stones’ “Concert for Amity,” will make Sir Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood arguably the most famous musicians to play there since the 1959 Cuban revolution.
“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 Rolling Stones said in a statement.
Rumours of a potential appearance by the band first picked up last year, after Mick Jagger visited Havana in October.
In the years following the Cuban Revolution, which culminated with Fidel Castro becoming president in 1959, rock music was viewed as a symbol of Western capitalism in the communist country.
Now, as government restrictions on cultural events in Cuba have loosened and relations with the United States have normalized, more international artists are beginning to schedule events there.
On Sunday, the electronic dance group Major Lazer will also play a free show in Havana as part of the lead up to Musicabana, a festival in May billed as the first produced by Cuban and American partners in more than three decades.
In addition to their landmark performance, the Rolling Stones are also leading a musician-to-musician initiative in which musical instruments and equipment are being donated by major suppliers for the benefit of Cuban musicians of all genres.
Donors include The Gibson Foundation, Vic Firth, Zildjian, Latin Percussion, Roland and Boss, with additional assistance from the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation.
The Stones are currently on tour in South America for their America Latina Ole tour, which is receiving rave reviews.
They have played to huge audiences in cities including Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with Lima, Bogota and Mexico City to follow next week.
The Rolling Stones Concert For Amity will be filmed and produced by award-winning production company JA Digital.
Julie Jakobek of JA Digital said: “It’s a great honour to be working with the Rolling Stones again on this hugely exciting and historic event.”
Following the Cuba concert, The Rolling Stones will fly to London to open Exhibitionism, their first ever exhibition, at the Saatchi Gallery on April 4.