July 9, 2007 / 7:15 PM / in 12 years

Montenegro gears up for "biggest-ever" Stones gig

Rolling Stones vocalist Mick Jagger (L), guitarist Keith Richards (R) and drummer Charlie Watts perform during a concert of the band's 'A Bigger Bang' European Tour in El Ejido, in this file photo from June 30, 2007. Montenegro's people, media and even politicians are feverish with anticipation over a Rolling Stones concert on Monday, the biggest cultural event ever held in the small Adriatic republic. REUTERS/Francisco Bonilla

PODGORICA, Montenegro (Reuters) - Montenegro’s people, media and even politicians are feverish with anticipation over a Rolling Stones concert on Monday, the biggest cultural event ever held in the small Adriatic republic.

Up to 55,000 people are expected to attend the concert on the popular Jaz beach near the coastal resort town of Budva, with fans traveling from all over Montenegro and neighboring Albania, Croatia, Bosnia and Italy.

Dozens of yachts are also sailing in to watch from the sea with tickets costing between 1,000 and 2,000 euros depending on the size of the yacht.

“Yes, it is true!,” wrote the daily Republika on its front page, reflecting many Montenegrins’ disbelief that the concert would actually take place .

Budva mayor Rajko Kuljaca said the concert was “the biggest global promotion ever” for Montenegro and Budva.

“I was in the United States a month ago, and when I told people I am from Budva, they said ‘Oh yes, that’s where the Rolling Stones are having a concert.’” The beach, a protected natural heritage site, is famous for the turquoise color of its waters, an effect of the Mediterranean sun on the golden sand.

“The place is beautiful,” the Stones’ production manager Dale Skjerseth told Montenegrin media on Sunday. “The beach, although smaller, is like the one in Rio, so we are sure that this concert will be excellent.”

The concert has also turned into a political happening for the newly-independent country, which voted to leave its union with Serbia last spring.

The presidents of Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Georgia are expected to join the entire Montenegrin government in the VIP area, where tickets cost 500 euros each.

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