There are many who cast a negative light upon Detroit, who hold it in contempt as a dying metropolis, a barren wasteland full of despair, urban decay, and blight. Most of the people I've met in my travels around the country before settling down here twenty years ago told me nothing good would ever arise out of Detroit or Michigan as a whole again. They were wrong. I've lived here long enough to see the ruins crumble and burn, as well as watch the rebirth of a city once thought lost be lifted up once again, slowly but surely, piece by piece in small steps, but rise it does.
The designation of Belle Isle being chosen as the site for the Orion Music & More festival for this year, and very much likely the next few years, is just another sign of the resurgence Detroit is undergoing. The spirit of the people who turned out in the tens of thousands to descend upon one of the crown jewels of Detroit this past weekend is evidence of this revival as the fans flocked downtown from all corners of the world to celebrate music and life at one of the many great festivals to be held in this state over the past few years. Featuring two days of bands crossing all genres, art exhibits, a hot rod car show, a haunted house, skateboarding demos, local food vendors and much, much more, the spirit of Detroit was very much alive and pulsing in everyone who attended, no matter where they hailed from.
Although I missed out Saturday, everything I saw throughout the day on Sunday was amazing. Volunteers covered the grounds with trash bags, with not a single can or piece of trash left to lay unattended for more than a few minutes. The food lines moved fast and quick, the multiple bars spread around the grounds quick to serve, security performing a polite and disciplined job, and everyone just got along. From the electronic dance tent that thumped beats all weekend on the rivers edge to the Van's stage with skateboarders thrashing to whatever band was playing on the stage, it was just a straight up kick ass time to be in Detroit this weekend.
And the line up of bands was just as amazing itself. From local Detroit legends Battlecross (Pure Michigan Metal!), Death and The Dirtbombs, to Bassnectar and the Japandroids, let alone the two headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica, there was more than enough musical diversity to please anyone who attended. Of course the huge surprise of the weekend was Metallica's surprise performance Saturday afternoon of their "Kill 'Em All" album in it's entirety but every stage held a surprise of sorts for everyone.
We look forward to a triumphant return of Orion in 2014, bigger, better and bolder than ever. Detroit rises!
Battlecross Audio Interview with Hiran and Tony
Extra pics and footage of Death from their Saturday UHF Record Store signing and Sunday Orion performance from MCB contributor RebeccaMich can be found here:
Dillinger Escape Plan
Red Hot Chili Peppers & Metallica
(Pics courtesy of MCB contributing photographer Andrew Bender)