One of America’s most iconic bands is paying a visit to Cuba this spring for a special music and art “cultural exchange.”
Blondie unveiled details this week for Blondie in Havana, a historic, four-day event set for March 14 to March 18 in Havana. The trip will feature two concerts from the band, along with performances and demonstrations from some of Cuba’s biggest artists, dancers, and musicians. The band says the itinerary will also include visits to Cuba’s “most important museums and cultural institutions,” along with a photography and architecture tour of Havana, and other activities to be announced closer to the event date.
Cuba, which was largely closed off to American tourists until 2015 (when the U.S. re-established diplomatic relations with the communist country), remains a complicated destination to visit. While individual tourist travel to Cuba is currently prohibited, visitors are welcome to the island under 12 categories of authorized travel. Blondie has partnered with the company, Dreamcatcher Events, to lead a “cultural exchange,” which is fully licensed by both the U.S. Government and the Ministerio de Cultura de la República de Cuba. (Many non-U.S. citizens, including those from Canada and the U.K., do not currently require any special permissions to travel to Cuba).
“We’ve never been to Cuba, though we’ve always hoped to get there someday,” says Blondie founding member Chris Stein. “We’ve been talking about it for ages and now it’s finally happening.”
The trip will be book-ended by two Blondie performances at Havana’s renowned Teatro Mella, a refurbished art-deco-style theater just north of the city center. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, whose last album “Pollinator” was released last May, are set to be joined by some of Cuba’s most influential musicians and bands, including Alain Perez, David Torrens, and the Afro-Cuban progressive rock band Sintesis.
Registration for Blondie in Havana starts at $2,699 for a four-day, three-night stay. The price includes accommodations at the Meliá Havana Hotel, meals, activities, ground transportation, and a meet and greet photo op with the band. Flights are not included, though many online booking sites, like Expedia and Travelocity offer discounted rates for flights to the Cuban capital.
“All the way back to ‘Rapture‘ and ‘The Tide Is High,’ we’ve always experimented with Caribbean sounds and polyrhythm,” says Blondie founding member Clem Burke. “So as soon as going to Cuba became a possibility, we started putting something together. I think there will be a really special energy. To be with some of our closest friends and fans in a whole different environment, a whole new plane — we’re really looking forward to it.”
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