Russian festival with Rammstein singer canceled
A Russian music festival which was to star Rammstein singer Till Lindemann on August 29 was canceled due to reported pressure from authorities, festival organizer Maxim Larin wrote on social media platform VK.
The festival site in the city of Tver, 180 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Moscow, has been cordoned off.
The rehearsals ahead of the event had already been blocked by officials.
Lindemann visited by police
Russian police visited Till Lindemann at his hotel on Saturday night, according to independent Russian news agency Interfax and German daily Bild.
Some articles went on to state that the singer was arrested. But according to information obtained by Bild, the Rammstein singer was only warned that he should comply with certain COVID-related conditions while performing in Tver, and the police left afterwards.
Interfax reports that Lindemann's manager, Anar Reiband, faces charges for having violated migration laws. Upon entering Russia, the touring party stated that the purpose of their trip was tourism, even though concerts were planned.
Festival organizer involved in opposition party
Even though restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic were the authorities' official reason to block the event, the festival organizer suspects the intervention was linked to the upcoming elections in Russia.
Festival organizer Maxim Larin is a businessman connected to the nationalist opposition party, Rodina (Motherland). A former Rodina local legislature member, his son is running on behalf of the party for the regional parliament.
Authorities also reportedly complained about the name of the event, which could be seen as promoting the party, since it includes the term Rodina.
Rammstein popular and controversial in Russia
Till Lindemann, who is very popular in Russia, is also set to appear next weekend on the Red Square in Moscow at the Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival.
Rammstein's controversial frontman is currently accused by Russia's Hermitage Museum of violating its copyrights by issuing a series of non-fungible tokens with images from the museum.
Rammstein guitarists Richard Kruspe and Paul Landers made headlines when they kissed on stage at a concert in Moscow in 2019. The kiss was widely interpreted as a sign against the country's homophobic legislation.
Meanwhile, Russian Rammstein fan Andrey Borovikov, a former team coordinator for imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison earlier this year for allegedly spreading pornography when he shared a clip of Rammstein's "Pussy" video on social media in 2014. Lindemann has never publicly condemned the arrest.