MOSCOW, JUNE 7 -- Soviet officials kicked off a colorful two-week campaign for local elections here this weekend, with bands making music and candidates making promises in an unprecedented bid to engage Muscovites in the politics of this communist-ruled city.

Using a bullhorn and 21-piece military band to drum up interest, one party organizer marched through the streets of Moscow's Sovietskaya neighborhood yesterday morning, calling residents out for "the day of the voter," which included a barbecue, sporting events and round-table discussions with the candidates.

Turnout was thin, but those who came gave the candidates an earful, voicing complaints about laxness in the campaign against drunkenness and about local political issues.

In the June 21 elections, to be held throughout the Soviet Union, voters will choose Communist Party officials for city and local councils and courts.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed multicandidate balloting at the Central Committee Plenum last January. He later said the upcoming elections could be used as the basis for general reform of the Soviet electoral system.

Voters in some districts across the country will be offered a choice of candidates in the nationwide election experiment, unprecedented in this one-party-governed country. But candidates appearing here this weekend are running unopposed.

This weekend's western-style politicking, unusual in a country where party officials usually weed out candidates and offer a choice of only one, comes in the wake of official reports that the Soviet public is reluctant to become actively involved in Gorbachev's reform drive.

"What we are trying to do is overcome inertia on the part of the local people," one party official explained in an open field where candidates set up tables to meet with their constituents.

Sandwiching an interview between open-air gripe sessions with local voters, city council candidate Anatoly Salnikov called the experiment in public politicking "part of an attempt to engage the people more actively in the political life of the city."

"It goes along with our efforts for greater glasnost {openness} and democratization," said Salnikov, a manager in a local restaurant.

Asked about his election platform, Salnikov said he favored building more schools, hospitals and movie theaters in Sovietskaya, a community of high-rises with a population of about 30,000.

When one local resident approached him with an appeal for more children's playgrounds in the area, Salnikov evaded the issue, proposing that a referendum be taken to gauge neighborhood feelings about playgrounds.

Another resident complained that a store soon to be opened in the neighborhood will offer vodka for sale. "We're against that," the resident complained, citing the nationwide campaign against drunkenness.

"The store will only offer water and beer," one of the local candidates promised.

In recent weeks, Moscow party leader Boris Yeltsin has sounded a call for greater civic involvement in the Soviet capital, and the city government has held neighborhood block parties and allowed a limited number of public demonstrations.