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Glam-metal glasnost: Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Skid Row and more rock the Moscow Music Peace Festival in 1989

Onstage and backstage at the ‘Russian Woodstock’

If any single event encapsulated the massiveness of hard rock and heavy metal at the end of the 1980s, it was the Moscow Music Peace Festival, which put six megawatt bands – Skid Row, Cinderella, Mötley Crüe, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions and Bon Jovi (along with Russian rockers like Gorky Park and Brigada-S) onstage for two days at Moscow’s 100,000-seat Central Lenin Stadium for what Scorpions singer Klaus Meine dubbed the “Russian Woodstock.” 

Organized by Mötley, Bon Jovi and Skid Row manager Doc McGhee along with Soviet musician Stas Namin, the event took place on August 12 and 13, 1989, and marked the first time Western hard rockers were permitted to play in the Soviet capital. It was a significant musical moment...and also a killer show. As Ozzy Osbourne so eloquently recalled in the ‘80s hard rock history Nothin’ But a Good Time, which I co-authored with journalist Tom Beaujour, “Doc McGhee came around to my house and he says, ‘We’re going to Moscow! I’ve got a private plane.’ And he asked me to this Moscow Peace Summit thing. They were just in that perestroika stage over there. Whatever that means.”

 

Moscow Music Peace Festival plane
Moscow Music Peace Festival press conference
Scotti Hill Jeff LaBar Moscow
Tom Keifer Moscow
Sebastian Bach Moscow
Jon Bon Jovi Richie Sambora Moscow
Bon Jovi, live, Moscow Music Peace Festival 1989 at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, USSR, 12th and 13th August, 1989. (L-R) Richie Sambora (guitar), Jon Bon Jovi (vocals).
Ozzy Osbourne onstage Moscow
Ozzy Osbourne Moscow
Motley Crue Moscow
Vince Neil Moscow
All-star session at the end of the Moscow Music Peace Festival 1989 at Luzhiniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, 12th and 13th August 1989. (L-R) Scotti Hill (guitar) (Skid Row), Tom Keifer(Cinderella), tKlaus Meine (vocals) (Scorpions), Nikolai Noskov (vocals) (Gorky Park). (Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)
General view of artists on stage during the finale of the Moscow Music Peace Festival, Luzhiniki Stadium, Moscow, Soveiet Union, August 1991. (Photo by Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images)