METALLICA Frontman’s Disparaging Comments About Atlantic City Prompt Price-Gouging Debate

According to PressOfAtlanticCity.com, METALLICA frontman James Hetfield‘s disparaging comments about Atlantic City, New Jersey — the site of the inaugural edition of the band’s Orion Music + More festival — have led the town’s mayor to call on the state and casino properties to work together to create an environment that will attract major outdoor concerts to Bader Field in the future.

Hetfield‘s comments were centered on hotel costs and were made earlier this month during a discussion about the band’s decision to move Orion Music + More to Detroit.

“I thought Atlantic City was going to be a lot better than it was,” Hetfield told RollingStone.com. “There was some gouging going on in hotels, ripping people off, crap like that. But it’s a gambling town, and it’s got a reputation for that. We’re trying to make this affordable for people so that wasn’t a great thing.”

Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford said the criticism is legitimate and added that there should be more cooperation to accommodate tourists and events.

Councilman At-Large George Tibbitt, however, disagreed. “It’s definitely not price gouging,” he said. “You’re looking at a depressed area like Detroit over a casino town on a weekend. Of course the rates are going to be higher. You always want to do whatever you can to get people out here, but it’s unreasonable to think you can get cheap rates here in the summertime.”

METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich told Business Week that even though last year’s Orion Music + More festival in Atlantic City sold a total of 24,000 tickets, the band did not make money from the venture. He explained, “I wish we broke even last year. I’d obviously like to get into a situation where it’s not costing us, but that will probably be another couple of years away. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul.”