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Metallica to give Orion festival a year off, so no 2014 at Belle Isle

21st Century Media/Digital Media First, @GraffonMu

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A return of Metallica's Orion Music + More festival to Detroit's Belle Isle will not happen next year.

The heavy metal group will put the two-year-old event on hold for 2014 while it tours in Europe. Metallica has a half-dozen performances scheduled overseas so far, including during the early June time period when Orion took place during 2012 in Atlantic City and this year on Belle Isle. There's no firm word yet on whether the festival will return and, if it does, if it will come back to Detroit.

This year's two-day festival, promoted by Austin, Texas-based C3 Presents brought an estimated 20,000 people to Belle Isle to hear Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and other bands. At the end of their performance the members of Metallica promised that the festival would definitely return, but C3 officials -- who took out a three-year lease on the site -- were non-committal. In early October frontman James Hetfield noted that a return was "kind of up to the promoters at this point," although the group itself was happy with what transpired on Belle Isle.

"I had a blast," Hetfield said. "I had a really good time. I love the island, love the city, love the people. We loved it. I think it went smoother than the previous one." Nevertheless, Hetfield acknowledged that Orion was not yet making money. "We know that festivals don't make money right away, for sure," he said. "It's not that we're out to make money. We're at least out to break even -- and it certainly has not broken even yet. It's an expensive barbecue at this point."

Metallica spent the late summer and early fall promoting its 3D concert film "Metallica Through the Never." It's currently gearing up for a Dec. 8 show on King George Island in Antarctica, then plans to work on a new album before the European tour kicks off June 4 in Hamburg, Germany.

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