Rolling Stones to Play Cuba for First Time in Free Show
The Rolling Stones have extended their Latin American tour to include a stop in Cuba. The group will play a free show that they’ve dubbed the Concert for Amity at Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana on March 25th. It will mark the first time a British rock band has played the island.
“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 joint statement.
The group has been planning the visit for several months. It is promising a set list filled with “classic Stones hits” and “special gems” for the Cuban audience.
An organization called the Fundashon Bon Intenshon is organizing the event on behalf of the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The organization supports charitable projects regarding education, athletics, cultural literacy, healthcare and tourism around the world. It also seeks to relieve general poverty. The Institute of Cuban Music has also provided support.
The concert will be filmed and produced by JA Digital, and Paul Dugdale will serve as director. The filmmaker previously helmed The Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun – Hyde Park Live in 2013, as well as concert films for Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Adele and One Direction, among others.
The Associated Press reports that the Concert for Amity will make the Rolling Stones the biggest act to perform in Cuba since the country’s 1959 revolution. Previously, the government had prevented young Cubans from listening to rock music. Since dropping the policy, the government has begun allowing large, non-official concerts. In 2005, Audioslave became the first non-Cuban band to play an outdoor show in the country.
In 1979, Rolling Stone covered the Havana Jam, which featured appearances by Billy Joel, Stephen Stills, Kris Kristofferson, Weather Report and others.
Major Lazer will be the first U.S. act to perform in Cuba, on March 6th, since tensions between the America and Cuba have waned. “Cuba has such a powerful cultural impact all over the world and for me, especially growing up in Florida, it became one of the biggest cultural centers for music to evolve from,” Diplo wrote on Twitter. “I was lucky enough to visit Cuba a few years back with my friends Calle 13 and during my four days there, my mind was blown by the people, depth of culture and their way of life.”