Music in Context: Moscow Music Peace Festival

In the mid 1980s, Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev’s openness meant that, for the very first time, Soviet fans could attend concerts by prominent American and British artists.

Organised by an American manager, and Russian musician, Moscow Music Peace Festival was the Soviet Union’s first unfiltered experience of the freedom and abandon of rock & roll.

It took place at Central Lenin Stadium in August 1989 with the intention of promoting world peace and fighting the drug war in Russia. 

However, most musicians on the bill were under the influence and many fought with each other. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue punched their manager in the face for favouring Bon Jovi over them and the band travelled back on their own.

The festival inspired the Scorpions to write “Wind of Change” which became a soundtrack to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. 

Further Reading