James Hetfield Labels Metallica's Orion Festival a "Financial Disaster"

James Hetfield Labels Metallica's Orion Festival a "Financial Disaster"

Metallica guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield has detailed the band's recent decision to take a year off from their Orion festival to focus on European shows, labelling their own event a "financial disaster" and calling into question whether it will return.

While speaking with Houston radio station KTBZ-FM [via Blabbermouth], the metal musician explained that it's unclear when the band will next hit up North America with some tour dates, noting that financially it just doesn't add up at the moment. The interview went on to have him hinting that last summer's sophomore Orion event, held in Detroit, wasn't exactly a moneymaker.

"Right now, it seems like metal is struggling a little bit in the States. Obviously, the Orion festival that we had tried to do the last couple of years has really not been… Gosh, it's been a disaster financially, and it's not able to happen again because of that. So it's a bummer," he said, adding optimistically of other tour opportunities, "We're doing what we can to keep being alive here. And I hope to get out and play in the States. It seems like forever since we've been out and about. You know, we've hit the coasts and we've done TV stuff and things like that. But it will happen again."

The interview also had Hetfield waxing on the state of the U.S. concert market, noting that it's become dependent on package tours. "There's not really any willingness to get a big show out there and make it worthwhile to actually get out there and play," he said. "You see other bands gathering up six different bands just to go out and play. It's pretty tough in North America."

Metallica had first announced they were skipping a 2014 edition of Orion because of a scheduling conflict, instead opting to play European festival dates. At the time, though, drummer Lars Ulrich had said that they fully plan to return to Detroit in 2015.

"Detroit was a great experience. We'd love to bring this thing back to Detroit. We've gotta sit down and look at the practical parts of it," he had previously said. "It's not an easy thing to launch a festival, but we've had a lot of fun the last two years doing it, and we hope to bring it back to Detroit."


Last July's Orion festival brought over 40,000 people to Detroit for a two-day event that also featured performances from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Rise Against and a surprise Metallica performance as DeHaan that had them play their 1983 debut Kill 'Em All in full.

You'll find Metallica's overseas tour schedule, which has South American dates booked for the spring and summer slots across Europe, over here.

  You can listen to the entire radio interview with Hetfield below.