HAVANA (WSVN) — A legendary rock ‘n’ roll band has arrived in Cuba and residents are gearing up for a historic rock concert.
The Rolling Stones’ Havana gig, scheduled for Friday, is unprecedented in the island nation. At one time, Cubans were jailed for listening to rock music.
In addition, people couldn’t gather in large groups unless it was a government event.
The concert is also drawing fans from the United States. "Having The Rolling Stones coming to Cuba to play for free for the Cuban people is phenomenal," said David Chaknova who is visiting from Colorado.
Many Cubans are unfamiliar with the band since rock music was once banned under the Castro government but feel this may usher in something new for Cubans. "We hope that it will be a new era," said Nelson Diaz.
The Stones released a video to introduce themselves to the Cuban people for the big event. "When rock music was not even allowed to be listened to, now rock music is being allowed to be heard, and they’re using the greatest band in the world — The Rolling Stones," said Cuba resident Josiah Kinlock.
The concert will cap the Stones’ tour through seven Latin American cities, but drumming up a show in Cuba is no easy task. "And that’s something with the Stones. They always put a challenge in front of me to do, and we put a group together to bring the show," said Rolling Stones production manager Dale Skjerseth. "That’s the excitement to us."
Although the Stones may be new to many Cubans, longtime fans hope music bridges the gap between Cuba and the world it has been isolated from for so long. "Cuba is a country that is very dear to me," said Andy Scaysbrook, who is visiting from England. "So when the Stones come to Cuba, there’s only one place in the world I had to be, and that was here."
Officials expect over 500,000 people to be in attendance for Friday’s concert.