Instead of catering to one genre of music to accompany headliner Metallica, this weekend’s Orion Music + More Festival at Bader Field embraced the diversity of its lineup.
On Saturday, country rockers Lucero played a ballad across the Bader Field runway from a mosh pit assembled for the hardcore band F***ed Up. The English indie rock band Arctic Monkeys served as the opening act for metal headliner Metallica.
But the mixture of cultures seemed to not present any problems.
“Everyone is a lot friendlier and laid back than I was expecting,” said Luke Miller, of York, Pa., who planned to attend both days of the festival, which continues today. “And it’s great because we can just relax and get to be exposed to a lot of different types of music and people. And it’s a beautiful day, too, so that helps.”
Atlantic City police Sgt. Monica McMenamin said about 25,000 people were expected to attend the first day of the festival Saturday. An estimate of how many actually attended was not available as of 7 p.m. because people were still arriving by the hundreds in advance of the larger acts taking the stage.
Traffic was backed up on Albany Avenue due to the festival, and the streets in adjacent neighborhoods were lined with the parked cars of concertgoers. But many of those residents, as inconvenienced as they may have been, still greeted fans with smiles and occasional directions.
And midway through the festival’s first day, there had been only one “incident” — a fight resulting in an arrest — but that happened outside the festival grounds on Albany Avenue, McMenamin said.
Teenagers Nikole Medved, Dylan Chieffalo and Karly Harris made the trip from Pittsburgh to see the indie rock band Modest Mouse for the second time in as many days. Their attire — which included a Grateful Dead shirt — showed that they were not the kind of die-hard metal heads typically associated with Metallica. But they still decided to stay in Atlantic City for the entire weekend for a chance to catch the harder acts.
“It seems like everyone is just here enjoying themselves, whether they like all of the music here or not,” said Chieffalo, 19. “But so far, all of the bands have been really good.”
Amy Huffman’s music allegiance was as clear as the large Metallica tattoo stretching from shoulder to shoulder on her sun-drenched back.
“This show is pretty different,” said Huffman, 30, who has seen Metallica dozens of times but still wanted to travel from Missouri to see them in Atlantic City. “There is a more diverse crowd here, more things to do and more energy, it seems. I think it makes it better.”
As Lucero performed “Bike Riders,” a song about a troubled couple in love, York, Pa., resident Jen Rule picked out a place on the grass to sit and watch them. This would not have been interesting if not for the 25-year-old’s attire: a hot-pink shirt with a skull on the front, fishnet stockings and knee-high black leather boots — a clear sign that she was at the festival for much harder bands than the Tennessee-based rockers.
“I’m here to see Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica. That’s really my favorite type of music,” Rule said. “But I like other music, too, like (country performer) Eric Church, so it should definitely be a good weekend because of how much variety is here."
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