Nashestvie (Нашествие), or “Invasion,” is an annual Russian rock music festival held over a three-day weekend in the first half of July. Since launching in 1999, Nashestvie has become one of the largest open-air music festivals in Russia with a record 205,000 in attendance during the 2016 season.

The first Nashestvie was organized by Nashe Radio (Наше Радио), a rock radio station in Moscow that plays only Russian-language rock. The station organized the festival to celebrate its first anniversary. Bands such as Bi-2, Okean Elzi, and Zemfira performed at the DK Gorbunova concert hall in Moscow. In its second year, organizers moved the festival to a larger venue at Ramenskoye but, since 2008, organizers have tended to hold Nashestvie in various venues of the Tver Region, where organizers have found the authorities to be more amenable to the now-large-scale festival, which brings issues of noise, trash collection, and security with it. Pilot, DDT, Bravo, Smyslovye Gallyutsinatsii, Splean, and many more have performed on Nashestvie’s stages.

In addition to a full schedule of musical performances, the festival includes an eclectic array of large-scale exhibitions of contemporary and historic military technology, workshops on wilderness survival, and beach volleyball to create a holiday of “unity and cohesion.”

Although the festival aims to provide a high level of comfort, Nashestvie has struggled to provide sanitary and affordable food; clean toilets; organized transit; and potable water. Noteworthy incidents include the Ryazan festival in 2006, when fans waited up to four hours for a single cup of boiled water and overpriced food, and 2009, noteworthy for its very high food prices and failure to provide sufficient water even in the VIP section. Since 2012, Nashestvie organizers have made serious progress in addressing issues of cleanliness, but food and drink prices remain sources of irritation to attendees.

Despite its problems, however, Nashestvie continues to draw large crowds as well as the biggest names in Russian rock, both established and rising stars. Its annual events have become expected staples of the Russian rock music scene.

 

Highlights of the festival:

 

Bird’s eye view, showing the size and scope of Invasion against otherwise-empty fields:

 

Katheryn Weaver is a student of rhetoric and history at the University of Texas, Austin. Her primary areas of investigation include revolution and the rhetorical justification of violence against individuals, state, and society. She is currently studying Russian as a Second Language with SRAS's Home and Abroad Scholarship.