After weeks of speculation, the Rolling Stones confirmed Tuesday they are set to play a concert in Cuba's capital on March 25, a cost-free event that promises to become the biggest music act on the island since 1959.
A rep for the British band confirmed in a statement they will play in Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva three days after President Barack Obama’s historic visit to the Caribbean nation.
“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 statement read.
The concert is expected to draw a massive audience in a country where the government once persecuted young people for listening to rock music.
The Havana "Concert for Amity" will cap the Stones' America Latina Ole tour through seven Latin American cities. The band said it will donate instruments and other musical equipment from sponsors to Cuban musicians during their visit.
The Stones concert will almost certainly be one of the largest since Cuba began easing its limits on some non-official gatherings in the 1990s.
"I'm definitely going to go," said Ivia Perez, 39. "It makes me think about being in high school, after the period of censorship. I listened to a lot of rock back then."
On the same week as the visits by Obama and 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.
A wave of rumors about the concert began to swirl in October when frontman Mick Jagger visited the island on a private trip with one of his children. Back then, the Cuban media reported that the 72-year-old was scouting out a possible concert location.
"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," said 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 historic concert in Havana will be filmed.
“It’s a great honor to be working with the Rolling Stones again on this hugely exciting and historic event,” said Julie Jakobek of JA Digital who will be filming the concert in a statement.
Rock and pop music has been frown upon in Cuba for many years for ideological reasons; however, in recent years music lovers have been able to access illegally from radio stations in Miami.
The biggest musical performance in Cuba to date was held in 2009, when the Colombian singer Juanes drew more than a million people to a show titled "Peace without Frontiers" in Havana's Revolution Plaza.
That concert angered Cuban-American exiles in the U.S. and its organizers wrangled with Cuban officials over performances by local artists critical of their government. U.S. government contractors also tried to use the concert to promote programs designed to foment political change in Cuba.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.