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Metallica’s James Hetfield on Orion Fest: “It’s Been a Disaster Financially”

  • Axl Rosenberg

Orion-MetallicaWhen word got out that Metallica wouldn’t be bringing their Orion Music + More Festival back to Detroit in 2014 — and might not be bringing it back at all — MetalSucks’ own Vince Neilstein speculated that money issues could be to blame:

“Metallica have gone on record as saying they didn’t expect the festival to make money in the early going, but it’s hard to imagine money isn’t playing a factor in the decision to leave Detroit: the 2013 festival attracted only 20,000 attendees — less than Metallica can draw on their own in many cities the world over — despite the presence of a number of other high-profile acts on the bill. Couple that with the disappointing box office sales of their feature film Through the Never and it’s not a stretch to infer that Metallica just don’t want to take on any risky financial burdens right now.”

Well, hey, guess what? Vince was right! This is James Hetfield in a new interview with 94.5 The Buzz:

“Right now, it seems like metal is struggling a little bit in the States. Obviously, the Orion [Music + More] festival that we had tried to do the last couple of years has really not been… Gosh, it’s been a disaster financially, and it’s not able to happen again because of that. So it’s a bummer. So, you know, we’re doing what we can to keep being alive here. And I hope to get out and play in the States. It seems like forever since we’ve been out and about. You know, we’ve hit the coasts and we’ve done TV stuff and things like that. But it will happen again. So hopefully, to get your fix, you’re able to get the [Through the Never] DVD and sit there and headbang with your friends.”

Although I understand how weird it must feel for a band as successful as Metallica to have two major financial failures in a single year, it’s a little odd to hear Hetfield say that “metal is struggling in the States” when Orion had far more non-metal acts than metal acts, and just a few years ago, The Big Four sold out two giant shows in New York and California (both of which, it’s worth mentioning, were better attended than Orion 2013). If anything, I’d think the lesson here would be that if Orion were more metal-oriented, it might have done better. As I’ve said before, I think Through the Never failed at the box office because of a major marketing misstep; might Orion not have suffered for similar reasons?

You can listen to the interview below:


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