On February 7, METALLICA, in conjunction with friends C3 Presents, announced the creation of Orion Music + More, a new annual music, arts, and lifestyle festival founded and headlined by the band, a natural progression for a group which has headlined legendary festivals around the world for years. Orion Music + More will take place June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Speaking to Billboard.biz, C3 partner Charlie Walker stated about the festival’s indie-centric lineup, “I’m sure some people have a vision of what they think it is because it’s METALLICA, but I think they’ll have a different understanding of what it is after they come and see it.”
When asked if more metal-leaning acts be added to Orion Music + More, Walker said, “I think we’ll try and stick with diversity. You’ll see some more hard rock bands, you’ll see some more alternative bands. We’re certainly not consciously trying to lean it hard rock or indie — we’re trying to make it balanced.”
During an interview aired immediately after the announcement, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich stated about how the bands were selected to perform at Orion Music + More, “Music, to us, is really diverse; it covers all grounds. If you took the four of ours;’ iPods and scanned through those, you would find the biggest variety and diversity of music, so we’re trying to bring that spirit to this festival.”
He added, “A lot of the European festivals, and certainly also Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo and so on, in outside lands in America, these festivals are really about diversity and about different experiences. You go there, you go check out bands you don’t know a lot about, you go check out bands where it will be the first time you’ll experience them. So there’s a whole big pile of stuff — from punk to thrash to country to, sort, of alternative, straight-ahead rock, blues. But it’s really about diversity.”
“We’d love to have people open up their focus. Maybe they come to see us but wind up discovering some blues or country act,” METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett told USA Today.
Added Ulrich: “It’s all about balance, keeping things fresh.”
“We’ve done festivals our whole career,” said METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield. “We wondered what made those people come back year after year, and it was because it was someplace you had to be. Maybe we can create something like that.”
The METALLICA members explained that Orion was named in honor of the band’s late bassist Cliff Burton. “Orion” is also the name of the instrumental song from METALLICA‘s 1986 album “Master Of Puppets”, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest metal LPs of all time.
“We’ve had the idea of doing our own lifestyle festival with lots of diverse music and fun and games for years,” said Ulrich. “Finally this year all the practical ducks lined up in a row, and we are beyond psyched to bring Orion to our fans, friends and the curious. After the most incredible of weeks ever in December 2011 celebrating our 30th anniversary at the Fillmore in San Francisco, California, bringing the spirit of that week, the looseness of that week, the possibilities of that week, the fan interactive elements of that week, and the (fill in your own blank here) of that week to a festival setting is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves.”
Orion Music + More will feature multiple live music stages plus a lifestyle element that reflects each of METALLICA‘s band members many personal interests. METALLICA will headline both nights of Orion Music + More and play “The Black Album” in its entirety one night “Ride The Lightning” in its entirety the other. This will be the only time the band will perform these albums in North America in 2012. The lineup for Orion Music + More will span multiple musical genres. From punk to country, over 20 bands will perform.
“We wanted (the) biggest space possible because we don’t know what’s really going to happen there at the end of the day,” said Hetfield.
Atlantic City was a prime location for the event because it is central to other major cities and could draw concertgoers from all over the East Coast and even Canada and Europe. “There’s hotels, there’s casinos, there”s beaches,” Hammett said. “There’s all sorts of things to do.”
The band was asked if the Orion festival would be a yearly occurrence. “As far as it being an annual event, we don’t know. It all depends on how it turns out,” said Hammett. Hetfield added, “If this is able to keep itself going, so be it. We’ve got the attitude of ‘try it.'”
Tickets are available for $150 for a 2-Day Pass, including all fees.
The festival billing is shaping up as follows:
THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
GARY CLARK JR.
THE BLACK ANGELS
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS
For more information, visit www.orionmusicandmore.com.