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Detroit summer festival more for revenue than the city


Staff Writer


This summer Metallica will be hosting a music festival in Detroit. More than 30 bands are expected to play, many of them such big names as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against and  Deftones. Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich told the Detroit Free Press that they have had a long relationship with Detroit; this is their motivation behind choosing Belle Isle as the venue for their festival. Tickets are set to cost $150 each, with VIP two-day passes going for $750.


Some might feel this is a fair price for a show featuring 30 bands. However, for many of the people who live in and around the Detroit area, this is unaffordable. It is expected that upwards of 40,000 people will attend the June 8-9 event — and half of the people will be from out of state.


What this says to me is the event is not really for the people of Detroit with whom the band has had a long history. This event is planned for revenue. I understand that the city and its business will prosper from such an event, but I cannot help but wonder how much money will be invested into the city.


Personally, I feel like Detroit is the forgotten city.  One might argue with that statement, claiming that a lot of money has been spent to revitalize many areas. This is true for areas such as the casinos and surrounding downtown and Comerica Park.  However, this is a façade. After a recent trip with a friend who restores Detroit homes, I saw the utter despair deep within Detroit. One does not know the meaning of impoverished until they have seen this life first hand. I cannot begin to explain the atrocities of everyday life there.  These neighborhoods and its residents will not prosper from a music festival.


A comparison was made between this event and Goose Lake. I suppose it is fair to make this comparison in size. There has not been a music festival of this grandeur held in Michigan since the Goose Lake Festival in the 1970s. My point is that music festivals of the past were geared towards the people and not towards big revenue. In addition, they had a message to convey. Why not promote social justice for the city of Detroit, or revitalization of the forgotten areas?

The only messages I see in all of this is spend, spend, and spend! This holds true for many other events you will find in the area, where $7 is sometimes charged to purchase a bottle of water.


I am not against the idea of this festival taking place. I grew up in the era of many of the bands set to perform and would much enjoy it. However, $300 for my husband and I to attend is quite expensive and I feel like if someone is going to make comparisons to music festivals of the past, then they should be able to substantiate those claims with more than mere size.


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