Some of Russia’s top musical talent are boycotting one of the country’s biggest music festivals over its ties with the Russian army.

At least six bands have dropped out of this year’s Nashestvie festival, just days before their planned performances between 3 August and 5 August.

Groups including Russian rockers Pornofilmy, Elysium, and Ukrainian artists Poshlaya Molly, publically pulled out of the event, saying that they wanted to protest the festival’s “militarisation”.

The festival has had links to the Russian Defence Ministry since 2013, with troops on site to show off military hardware, man onsite recruitment offices, and take part in “patriotic displays”.

“One of our main conditions of taking part in the event was that there wouldn’t be any military propaganda on the festival site itself: no artillery, no recruitment stands, and no other displays by the Ministry of Defence,” Elysium wrote on social media Monday. “We confirmed our participation when the organisers agreed this in July. Today, we heard this wouldn’t be the case. The only option for Elysium is now not to take part. Pacifism and anti-militarism are not just empty words for us.”

Russian YouTube star Monetchka also cancelled her appearance at the festival, but is yet to confirm her reasons for the last minute change.

Held in Russia’s Tver region, the Nashestviye festival has been one of the country’s festival highlights since 1999. Thousands of fans are expected to descend upon the site this year, with 80 acts billed to appear across two stages.

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