Friday, August 1, 2014
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Metallica's frontman dumps on Atlantic City as suboptimal

James Hetfield says the band's experience in Atlantic City during its Orion festival in 2012 was underwhelming and they are looking for a permanent new venue, something classier, maybe, say Detroit.

Metallica's frontman dumps on Atlantic City as suboptimal

I don't know, man, I thought it was pretty good last year out on Bader Field for Metallica's Orion Festival (+ More!). They didn't sell as many tickets as Phish, or Dave Matthews Band Caravan the year before, or, frankly, as many as they said at the time, or that they hoped. Chris Steffen of Rolling Stone described their view of Atlantic City as the immediately classic "suboptimal." not to be confused with the optimal subs available at the White House Sub Shop. 

The band is trying out the less suboptimal venue of Detroit this year. "I thought Atlantic City was going to be a lot better than it was," frontman James Hetfield told Rolling Stone at the festival grounds on Belle Isle. "There was some gouging going on in hotels, ripping people off, crap like that. But it's a gambling town, and it's got a reputation for that. We're trying to make this affordable for people, so that wasn't a great thing. Getting in and out of Detroit, I think, is a lot easier."

Huh? Speaking of gouging, $90 per day tickets or $750 VIP passes, hey that's fair market, right? How about the $35 dollars a t-shirt? In any case, why begrudge the hotels from charging what the market will bear. I interviewed a lot of people last year and nobody complained of hotel prices. 

Steffen goes on to write: "The band have admitted to not breaking even with last year's fest and are viewing these nascent years as the initial investment in a long-term enterprise. Last year's event sold 24,000 tickets over two days, and this year organizers say they are expecting closer to 40,000."

Are weak ticket sales Atlantic City's fault? Most acts that don't return to town, like DMB, complain about the town's luxury tax. I hope Bader Field continues to attract music festivals, although this year's summer agenda seems to lean toward more Rave-tastic than strictly music-oriented. One guy who's not gouging is Jimmy Buffett, who's due to play a free concert Saturday afternoon in front of Resorts, where his Margaritaville is packing them in. (Seafood mac and cheese is only $20.99)

About this blog

Inquirer staff writer Amy S. Rosenberg has covered Philly police, city neighborhoods, Ed Rendell as mayor, the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Miss America and the psychology of Eagles fans. She moved to Ventnor on July 3, 1995, which makes her a local, but not really.

Inquirer Staff Writer Jacqueline L. Urgo has spent every summer of her life at the Jersey Shore, and has lived there year-round for nearly 30 years, even fulfilling one of her bucket list dreams by once living in a house by the sea.

Since 1990, she has covered the waterfront for The Inquirer — from the Atlantic to the Delaware Bay shore — and some of the mainland in between. Along the way, she amassed an encyclopedic knowledge of this tear-it-down-and-build-it-back-up region, delving into the history and the hype of a place with a lot of unexpected stories to tell.

Reach The Downashore at arosenberg@phillynews.com.

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