40,000 people join the Cuba 50 celebrations

Cuba50 presented a real feast of celebration. All styles of Cuban music and dance were on offer, with dance classes as well: salsa, son, rumba, jazz, charanga, trova and timba – London danced to Cuban rhythms for a whole week.

Special guest at the Barbican events was Dr Aleida Guevara who spoke to almost 2000 concert goers each night. Aleida thanked the UK for hosting the celebrations of 50 years of the Cuban Revolution. To huge cheers from the ecstatic crowds Aleida looked forward to the next 50 years of the Cuban Revolution. She spoke of her father Che Guevara and how he saw Culture as integral to the development of human kind.

CSC Director Rob Miller, introduced the concerts calling the Cuban people ‘proud and determined in the face of aggression'. On the breadth of Cuban talent appearing in the Cuba50 festival he said that ‘Cuba was overflowing with artistic talent which was nurtured by Cuba from the young to the old'.

Throughout both days the Barbican was decked out in Cuban flags and Cuba50 logos were beamed around the venue. The foyers thronged with thousands of revellers enjoying the free stage music and dance as well as dance and percussion classes. There were even Havana Club workshops showing how to make the perfect Cuban cocktail.

The Trade Unions were well represented and Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, spoke at one of a number of special receptions held through the weekend‘I bring greetings to the Cuban people for the 50th anniversary of their Revolution not only on behalf of Unison but on behalf of the whole Trade Union movement'.

Cuba Solidarity stalls did a roaring trade in 50th anniversary T Shirts, Cuban flags, books and CDs and thousands of specially produced Cuba50 festival programmes and free CD were sold. Throughout the weekend the Barbican played music from the new CSC anniversary CD ‘Cuba – 50 years of revolutionary rhythms'.

Cuba50 is the biggest celebration of 50 years of the Revolution outside Cuba itself. It is made up of over 200 events large and small across the UK in 2009 from music to visual arts, dance, poetry, discussion, sports, film and performance. Be inspired and celebrate the diversity and inventiveness of Cuban culture at events around the UK throughout this year. There is something for everyone. http://www.cuba50.org