When you're a destination resort, sometimes you have to have broad shoulders. And you can't please all of the rockers all of the time.
That's our admittedly philosophical and world-weary response to a Rolling Stone interview in which Metallica guitarist and singer James Hetfield dissed Atlantic City.
Hetfield made the comments as his band was preparing for the second Orion Music + More Fest this month at Detroit's Belle Isle Park. The first incarnation of the festival was last June at Bader Field.
"I thought Atlantic City was going to be a lot better than it was," Hetfield said. "There was some gouging going on in hotels, ripping people off, crap like that. But it's a gambling town, and it's got a reputation for that. We're trying to make this affordable for people, so that wasn't a great thing."
The two-day Atlantic City show featured 35 acts, from metal and indie bands to country music, as well as films, a car show, skateboarding demonstrations and memorabilia exhibits. The members of Metallica also showed up early to sponsor a surfing demonstration in town.
It was a big deal - with ticket sales of 24,000 over two days - a flashy event that brought something new and unusual to town and showcased the city to thousands of music fans who might not have visited otherwise. City officials felt rightfully proud of the way they handled the traffic and crowds and kept everyone safe.
So it is disappointing, to say the least, to have Metallica not only decide it is taking its annual concert elsewhere, but to have the band also take a parting shot at Atlantic City.
Yes, casino hotel room rates are higher in the summer than the rest of the year. It's called supply and demand. Yes, hotel rooms are probably more expensive in Atlantic City than they are in Detroit, but in what way is that gouging? And yes, there were probably some concert fans who tried their luck at the gaming tables and left with less money than they came in with. Is anyone surprised by that?
Maybe Hetfield should ask his fans where they'd rather spend a summer weekend - Atlantic City or Detroit?
But rather than get defensive, the city's key players should always be looking for ways to make the city more affordable for these events and the people they draw. Casino hotel discount packages for special events, perhaps?
Recognizing the importance of special events, Wildwood just created an Office of Beach Services to bring new programs and new revenue sources to its beach.
Atlantic City needs more events like the Orion Music + More Fest. The success of the recent free beach concert outside Resorts Casino Hotel's Margaritaville and headlined by Jimmy Buffet, which brought in an estimated 50,000 music fans, showed again how effective the right special events can be - and makes us wonder why there isn't something like that planned for every summer weekend.