Belle Isle in Detroit has had a few busy weekends. Last weekend it was home to the Grand Prix and this weekend it will trade race fans for metal fans. Metallica‘s Orion Music Festival will call the island home this Saturday and Sunday. 39 bands are set to perform on five stages scattered across Belle Isle’s athletic fields, with festival organizers expecting at least 40,000 fans to attend the two-day event.
James Hetfield and Robert Trujillo of Metallica, Kyle “Gumby” Gunter and Hiran Deraniyagala of local Detroit band Battlecross, food curator Phil Cooley from Slows Bar BQ, as well as city officials were on hand during a press conference yesterday to speak about the upcoming weekend.
When asked why the band picked Detroit, Hetfield jokingly said “you guys needed your grass cut. That’s why we’re here, to mow Belle Isle.” Detroit City councilman James Tate quickly jumped in adding, “we got a couple more lots for you then.” Jokes aside Hetfield explained that they’re “trying to find a home for Orion and hopefully this will be the one… This site is amazing, it’s beautiful. We love it here!”
The festival will call Detroit home for the next three years with the hopes of becoming a permanent fixture in the city. “We’re not expecting this thing to break even for a while. It’s a long term investment,” assured Hetfield. “As a band that’s done lots of things over 30 years, this is another venture to make a stamp on music history.”
Working with the city of Detroit couldn’t have gone smoother for the band and C3, the festival producers. “It’s been really smooth. It been really great,” said Hetfield. “There is a lot of acceptance in to what’s going on here and sharing a vision highlighting a music festival celebrating music and making new history here.”
As for insight on what we can expect to hear from Metallica, on Sunday when they perform, Hetfield said “when you are old like us, there is always an anniversary of some album.” With no final set list yet, he did hint at including songs from the band’s “St. Anger,” “Kill ’em All” and “And Justice For All” albums.
Metallica is scheduled to preform 8 p.m. Sunday at the festival and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will headline the show at 8 p.m. on Saturday night.
Single day tickets for the festival are $90; a two-day pass is $150. For information, click here.
— Steve Wiseman, WOMC Detroit