Metallica’s Orion Music + More festival will take a year off in 2014 while the group spends its late spring and early summer in Europe.
A spokeswoman for C3 Presents, the Austin, Texas firm that promotes and produces Orion, confirmed that the group’s overseas run — a half-dozen shows announced so far — will scratch the third Orion. Both of its predecessors, 2012 in Atlantic City and 2013 in Detroit, took place in early June. C3 took out a three-year lease on Detroit’s Belle Isle park last year, but whether a third Orion will take place in 2015, and if it will wind up back in Detroit, has not yet been determined.
An estimated 20,000 fans attended each of Orion’s two days in Detroit, which also included performances by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, deftones, Rise Against, Dropkick Murphys, Infectious Grooves and others. At the end of their set the members of Metallica promised they’d be back in 2014, though C3 officials were taking a wait-and-see position at the time. In September Metallica frontman James Hetfield told Billboard that the group was very happy with the second Orion: “I had a blast. I had a really good time. I love the island, love the city, love the people. We loved it. I think it went smoother than the previous one.”
But, he added, decisions about Orion’s future were “kind of up to the promoters at this point” and, he acknowledged, based on finances. “It’s the money part, man, at the end of the day… We know that festivals don’t make money right away, for sure. It’s not that we’re out to make money; we’re at least out to break even, and it certainly has not broken even yet. It’s an expensive barbecue at this point.”
Metallica, which spent the early fall promoting its “Through the Never” 3D film, is currently gearing up for its Dec. 8 performance on King George Island in Antarctica. The group plans to spend the early part of 2014 working on a new album — its follow-up to 2008’s “Death Magnetic” — before heading to Europe, starting June 4 at the Sonisphere Festival in Hamburg, Germany, with two other festival dates in Germany along with the Netherlands, Beligum and England. The set lists for the shows will be determined by fan request at metallica.com.
“Making the next record is in our sights,” Hetfield says. “I’m itchin’. I’m sitting here at HQ right now looking at all my gear going, ‘Man, I want to write a record!’ We’re a band and we write music — that’s what we like doing best. We have tons of material to sift through, and that takes a lot of time ’cause there’s a lot of great stuff. I know we only need a few songs, but there’s 800 riffs we’re going through. It’s kind of insane. We have sifted through a lot of the stuff and pulled the cream of the crop. It’s just sitting there waiting for us to take it to the next level. Hopefully it happens soon.”