This past weekend (June 8th & 9th) a friend of mine and I drove up to Detroit Michigan to check out Orion Fest featuring Metallica, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones, Rise Against, Bassnectar, Drop Kick Murphy, an Infectious Grooves reunion, DeHaan (best show of the day) and so many more. Let me start by saying that Orion Fest is the most fan friendly festival I’ve ever been to. I was not paid and have no connections to the Orion Festival. I had a great time at the festival, but I do think there are a couple of things to improve upon.
Feed ‘em All
The first thing we did was head over to the Feed 'em All food stand. There were some people complaining about the high food prices, let me put this into perspective. The food selection was high end. They brought Detroit restaurants out to serve us. Were the prices high? Sure, but they were selling a Venison Cheese Steak sandwich for as much as most festival charge for a generic hamburger. Kielbasa Sausages were going for the same price as a regular hot dog at most festivals, so before you complain about the high prices think about what you were getting and that was great food for regular restaurant prices.
I may have been as excited for Kirk’s Crypt as I was for Metallica or The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I love horror movies. I’m in a horror movie ("A Cadaver Christmas"). Kirk Hammett not only brought out his personal collection of horror movie memorabilia, he brought out special effects legend Tom Savini, the original Leather Face Gunnar Hansen, Bill Moseley from too many classic horror films to mention (Rob Zombie’s "The Devil’s Rejects"), the beautiful Jordan Ladd from "Cabin Fever" and "Death Proof," the gorgeous P.J. Soles from "Halloween" and "Stripes." I went through it twice, bought a couple of autographs, I was in Heaven. Kirk also brought in some zombie performers walk around inside and outside of the Crypt. The zombie performers may have been the best part of the crypt.
The Metallica museum was so cool and I don’t know why. The last bass the Cliff Burton played was on display, the guitar that James Hetfield was playing when the pyro blew up on him was on display. You could see his hand print burnt into the neck. There were old amps with funny stickers on them, outfits they wore on given album covers, the first flyers from back in the day, the "Load" artwork. It was just a little tiny tent, but there was so much in it. It was just a lot of fun to walk around and see all the historical Metallica memorabilia. At one point a five year old kid looked up at his dad as they were waiting in line to get in and he said, 'dad, it smells like Metallica.' I don't know what that means, but it sounds pretty special to me.
James Hetfield’s Car Show
I’m not a car guy, but it was still cool to walk around and check out all the cool custom cars and motorcycles. There were cars every where, I wish I had more to say, but there were a lot of cool cars and if you’re into cars as much as I’m into horror movies then this would have been for you. There was one car you could get into and have your picture taken. Nearby there was also a 'Globe of Death' that showed two motorcyclists racing around in this tiny ball. As good as they are, all it takes is one mistake and you're done for. It was cool to see up close, but it was nerve wracking.
Vans Damage Stage & Ramp
There were five stages: Sanitarium, Frantic, Fuel, Vans Damage and the Budweiser Orion stage. Next to the Vans Damage stage was a ramp for skate boarding where they put on skateboarding shows. As someone who’s never really watched skateboarding or any real extreme sports this was a first for me. It was windy as all hell and the athletes were falling right and left due to the wind. Even though they were falling a lot they were also pulling off some pretty bad ass moves. It was particularly fun when a band was playing at the same time as one of the skateboarding shows.
The surprise of the festival was this band called DeHaan. DeHaan was made up of James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and Lars Ulrich and they played Metallica’s "Kill ‘em All" in its entirety. It was cool to be there for that. I mentioned that this was the most fan friendly festival I’ve ever been to an d I mean it. Every other festival I’ve been to would sell $5 water. Here you were allowed to bring your own bottles in and they would fill them up for you. They had cell phone charging stations, lockers, it was a great festival.
You Can’t Please ‘em All
After The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s set 50,000 people made their way to the exit. There were gates leading us all to the shuttles that were ultimately destroyed by the 50,000 people and it led to people racing to the shuttles and not paying attention to order. This problem had nothing to do with the festival as what they had set up would have worked perfectly had the 50,000 people not been out of control. That said, Sunday night after Metallica it went 100 perfect smoother. It was an amazing turn around after just one day, I was very impressed.
All in all it was a great experience, check back on our site for coverage of the bands.
BYLINE: Bob Zerull is the Managing Editor of Zoiks! Online. He writes pop culture commentary, does interviews with bands, and reviews music and stand-up concerts. He also administers Zoiks! Online's Facebook page. Follow Bob on twitter at bzerull. Email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.