Ludacris to play Guantánamo Bay (base, not prison) on the 4th of July

Ludacris performs before University of Georgia spring football game

Atlanta rap artist Ludacris performs pregame entertainment at the University of Georgia spring game.
Up Next
Atlanta rap artist Ludacris performs pregame entertainment at the University of Georgia spring game.

Rapper Ludacris is putting on a show for the folks at U.S. Navy base Guantánamo on the Fourth of July.

But don’t think about trying to jump on a boat or plane to see it. The base in Cuba best known for the detention center that President Barack Obama wants closed is inside a restricted military zone. Fewer than 6,000 people live there, including troops, Department of Defense contractors, Navy families and the last 79 war-on-terror detainees.

The base notified residents this weekend of the main event of the no-charge “Freedom Festival” at Guantánamo’s Windward Ferry Landing. It starts with activities for families at 6 p.m., the traditional fireworks show at 9 p.m. and the three-time Grammy winner for 90 minutes starting at 10 o’clock.

The venue is essentially a parking lot along the bay, which a base spokesman estimated can hold about 2,500 concertgoers. It’s miles from the closed Detention Center Zone, far enough away so the music won’t reach the seafront prison camps.

Base residents couldn’t recall a show of this magnitude since Jimmy Buffett played the open-air Lyceum movie theater in December 2002. Magic! played the 2015 Fourth of July and Jimmy Eat World the year before. The Plain White Ts pop punk band played in October.

“Every year we get a special guest around the Fourth of July, but Gitmo hasn’t seen a star with as big a name as Ludacris in several years,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Monique Hilley at the base radio station, Radio Gitmo. “The base is really looking forward to it.”

Efforts to reach the artist through his publicist and the movie studio failed.

He posted an Instagram video Monday showing a blue wall set for the coming Fast and Furious 8 film. The latest installment of the popular action movie franchise has filmed in locations from Atlanta to Iceland to Havana, although not Guantánamo, the 45-square-mile base that’s separated from the rest of the island by a Cuban minefield.

The artist, whose real name is Chris Bridges, has played for the troops before. He put on a show at Fort Meade in Maryland in 2010 and welcome home event for soldiers returning from Iraq Fort Hood in Texas in 2004.

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg

Related links

The Miami Herald’s full Guantánamo coverage here.