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METALLICA Says They Lost Money On Orion Last Year, The Fest Isn't About The Money

As you're reading this, Frank is en-route to Detroit for the second annual Orion festival, kicking off tomorrow. We'll have video coverage starting next week from the shows. I'm holding up the fort here at our studios, but I did go to Atlantic City last year for the inaugural fest and it was the best festival experience I have ever had.

The organizers were on top of things, we were treated with the upmost respect in the press area, with simple amenities like water, snacks and even sandwiches (oh and some free booze) provided for everybody who was "working" the fest. I'm not saying this to brag, I'm saying this to get across that Metallica went above and beyond for this thing.

The one thing I noticed while watching the show was that the turnout, while respectable, was not "super huge." That's why I'm not totally surprised when Lars Ulrich said in a recent interview, that last year's Orion Fest didn't make the band any money, in fact they lost money on the fest. 

The fest was profiled in BusinessWeek and Lars was quoted as saying it'd be a few years until they start to see a return on the investment:

“I wish we broke even last year,” Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer and co-founder said with a laugh in a phone interview. “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.”

Lars mentioned that while they might not be directly profiting off the festival, the long time connection with the fans will pay off in the long run:

“What worked last year was a sense of intimacy and a sense of connection that we made with the fans,” said the 49-year-old Danish native. “There was a very cozy family spirit significantly different than other festivals we’ve played. If we treat this right over the next couple of years, maybe we’ll be able to establish a long-term type of thing.”

The article goes on to note that Metallica and the festival organizers have committed to running the fest in Detroit through 2015, which is great news for the nearly bankrupt city. The Detroit News newspaper reported that the festival will be giving the city $450,00 for it's use of the Belle Isle park for the event for all three years plus a percentage of the festival’s concession sales. Not a bad deal for either party.

Don't go crying a river for Metallica just yet. The band reportedly made over $80 million in touring revenue last year from just 30 shows.

Here's our video report from the first Orion festival:

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