More than 500,000 Cubans are believed to have flocked to Havana’s Ciudad Deportiva sports complex to watch a concert by rock ’n roll superstars the Rolling Stones on Friday. This the first time the Stones have performed in the island country. Many considered it a momentous occasion as even listening to that style of music was banned in Cuba some decades ago.
Moreover, Friday’s concert was free. Stones enthusiasts camped overnight outside the stadium to get the best spots inside, while others gathered from more than six hours before the show. Band frontman Mick Jagger kicked off the concert from a on a 260-foot stage at 8.30 pm local time. It was also broadcast on 10 giant video screens placed in strategic locations, and watchers gathered on the streets outside as well. Police forces were deployed and an alcohol band was in place to keep the crowd from going out of hand.
AFP reported that emotional fans hailed the moment as a new era in the country. President Barack Obama had visited Havana earlier this week, marking a historic moment in the two countries' politics. Cuba has been under the communist rule, earlier under Fidel Castro and now under his brother Raul Castro, since 1959, when they drove out a US-back regime. Rock ’n roll was banned in various forms in the country from the 1960s to the 1990s.