METALLICA recently announced the creation of the Orion Music + More festival, a new music, arts, and lifestyle festival founded and headlined by the band. The event will take place June 23-24 at Bader Field in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Much to the surprise of many fans, the festival will feature a diverse range of music and not focus exclusively on metal and heavy rock. Acts like ARCTIC MONKEYS, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, MODEST MOUSE, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM, CAGE THE ELEPHANT, BEST COAST, GARY CLARK JR. , LUCERO, ROKY ERICKSON, THE SWORD and others are either already on board or being confirmed in the coming weeks. Drummer Lars Ulrich told Atlantic City Weekly why the band made this choice. "We've been playing festivals in Europe since basically the mid-'80s and so most of these festivals, you know, your Roskildes and the Readings and the Rock Am Rings and all these huge established groups having really, really varied lineups on it, and, you know, to now obviously in America with Bonnaroo, etc. But we played those festivals in Europe for basically almost every year the last 25 years. The first festival we ever played was in Europe in 1986. Eric Clapton and Phil Collins were [among] the three headline bands so it's always been about variety and it's always been about diversity and kind of a musical experience that offers a different kind of thing for the fans, where it becomes kind of that people of all different ilks and passions kind of get together and experience lots of stuff that's different. ... That was kind of the spirit of what we wanted to do, that type of thing together instead of you know, here's METALLICA with, you know, nine hardcore Norwegian metal bands, which may be cool in a different scenario, but this type of thing we wanted to do was more about variety and giving people a sense of discovery — where people might walk away and think something's really cool, you know?"
When asked about the "lifestyle" element of the Orion festival, Lars said, "People that know about the members of METALLICA kind of know our passions. We're very into different members going to different things, but obviously if I say people are into cars or people are into surfing or people are into films or art or whatever, I mean, the idea is that there's kind of an element to METALLICA members that we'll share. It's a different experience so you can go in and kind of experience other stuff and we're still trying to figure all of that out because we [have] a very vivid imagination, but we also want to make sure it's not too over the top. You know like, 'Go and surf with Kirk [Hammett, guitar] after Rob Trujillo [bass] in a giant wave pool!' We'll take it one step at a time, but it's going to be a bunch of really fun stuff. Exactly what it's going to be yet [we don't know]. People who know METALLICA kind of know that we always step up on that kind of fun and it will be a lot of fun, but I can't sit down and tell you exactly that at 2 p.m. on Saturday magicians are going to come out with fire up their asses. It'll be lots of really fun stuff and we've got a little bit of time to figure that out and also you don't want to necessarily — I don't want to have to get into a situation where I kind of have to sell everybody on this stuff. It's more like people who know us know it's going to be fun and cool and unique and kind of out there and so it should be really fun. I think that we're going to put together a festival experience that's going to be really special, but part of what we do is make it up as we go along so it's difficult to sit down and say let me tell you four months out exactly what's going to happen because that's not our forte."
Regarding whether Orion could become an annual event, Lars said, "If enough people show up and enough people give a shit and enough people have a good time, then obviously we would love to do it every year. These types of things have a tendency to take a few years to get off the ground, you know, and with anything you go out there you have fun with it, you do the best you can, and then you do better the second year. I think it looks promising. We've got a lot cool bands, a lot of cool lifestyle things we're gonna do and I think it should have the potential to be something that happens every year. That's certainly the idea, but if no fucker shows up, obviously we're not gonna have a festival for our friends. So if people show up and are into it maybe we can make it happen every year."
Read the entire interview from Atlantic City Weekly.
METALLICA will headline both nights of the Orion Music + More, playing 1991's self-titled "black album" in its entirety one night and 1984's "Ride The Lightning" the other. This will be the only time the band will perform these albums in North America in 2012.
For more information, visit www.orionmusicandmore.com.