The Rolling Stones Announce Free Concert in Cuba

The Rolling Stones are coming to Cuba.
The Rolling Stones are coming to Cuba.
Photo by Timothy Norris

Just over a month after it was announced that Major Lazer would be giving Cuba its first major EDM show, another massive concert is coming to the island of Cuba. On Friday, March 25, 2016, British rock legends the Rolling Stones will play a free, outdoor concert at the Ciudad Deportiva de la Habana.

"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 Stones said via press release.

Jagger and company will be the biggest international act to ever hit the island. Many anticipated an increase in cultural exchange between Cuba and the rest of the world when Obama first announced the relations thaw back in December 2014, and live music was going to be a major part of that.

Opinions remain mixed on just whether this is good or bad for the island. The Cuban-born musician Willy Chirino has remained a vocal opponent of the normalization of U.S. and Cuban relations. Last month we interviewed Cuban jazz legend Paquito D’Rivera. Asked what he thought about Cuba’s new diplomatic relationship with America, D’Rivera was reserved. "It's very cosmetic," he says. "I don't think the relations have been, like Obama says, 'people-to-people.'"

More specifically, in regards to the island’s musicians, D’Rivera had this to say: "Maybe now, some people, some elites, have the chance to go play with American musicians, like Wynton Marsalis going and playing there," he said, citing the American trumpeter's 2015 performance in Havana. "[Cubans] have an opportunity to see a couple of American musicians down there, but that doesn't change much."

Like it or not, big ticket concerts are coming to Cuba. The upcoming Stones show is being promoted by the American live music giant AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group). And it’s surely the first of many.


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