Metallica Cancels Festival Appearances

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James Hetfield (second from R) with his Metallica bandmates

James Hetfield has announced that Metallica is cancelling two festival appearances due to an unavoidable conflict with “critical recovery events” during his rehab. In a Feb. 24 press release, the band co-founder referenced his “continuing effort to get and stay healthy,” but stressed that the band will play “all other announced 2020 shows.”

Last fall, Metallica cancelled a tour of Australia and New Zealand due to Hetfield’s decision to re-enter a rehab treatment program. The band have a South American tour in April, followed by some U.S. performances. The latter was to have included two festivals – May 15-17 in Columbus, Oh., and Sept. 18-20 in Louisville, Ky., – in which they were to play two separate sets on two nights in the same weekend.

On Feb. 20, Hetfield was a surprise performer at a tribute concert in Beverly Hills, Calif., held in memory of Eddie Money.

Watch Hetfield share a story and perform “Baby Hold On” at the benefit event

Hetfield’s complete Feb. 24 statement:

It pains me to write this, but I have to let all of you know that I cannot make it to Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville this year. As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy, I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved. I apologize to all of our fans who have bought tickets for these festivals. We are working with the festival promoters to provide for refunds or exchanges. My intent with this statement is saying “I apologize” to each one of you. The reality is that I have not prioritized my health in the past year of touring and I now know that my mental health comes first. That might sound like a no-brainer for most of you but I didn’t want to let the Metallica team/family down and, I alone, completely compromised myself.

Looking on the brighter side, my therapy is going well. It was absolutely necessary for me to look after my mental, physical, and spiritual health.

I want to stress that the band will play all other announced 2020 shows.

I am looking forward to getting back to playing and seeing all our great South American fans in April. And, of course, playing the Epicenter in Charlotte, Welcome to Rockville, in Daytona and Aftershock in Sacramento. We will still play two unique sets at each of these festivals.

Beyond 2020, I am optimistic about the blessings I have been given and what the future brings. I appreciate all the great prayers and support from everyone since I went into rehab last September. Like the moth into the flame, being human in this career has its huge challenges and can be difficult. Your understanding helps the healing.

In their earlier Sept. 27 statement, on their Facebook page, the band’s Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo noted that “our brother… has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years.”

The 56-year-old Hetfield, the group’s lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and principal songwriter, had initially entered rehab in 2002.

The Australia and New Zealand dates, part of the band’s enormously successful WorldWired tour, were scheduled to begin October 17, with guests Slipknot.

The band’s complete Sept. 27 statement regarding Hetfield’s health:

A Note from Lars, Kirk, and Rob:

We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must postpone our upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.

As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.

We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit. We’ll let you know as soon as we can. Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who travel great distances to experience our shows. We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.

The band’s most recent performance was on Sept. 8 at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Watch Metallica perform with the San Francisco Symphony on Sept. 8

Formed in 1981 by drummer Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist Hetfield, Metallica has become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold nearly 120 million albums worldwide and generating more than 2.5 billion streams while playing to millions of fans on all seven continents. The band’s several multi-platinum albums include Kill ‘em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, … And Justice for All, Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), Load, Reload, St. Anger, Death Magnetic, and most recently Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, released in November 2016 and charting at #1 in 32 countries.

Metallica’s numerous awards and accolades include nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, and multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. In June of 2018, the band was awarded one of the most prestigious musical honors in the world: Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. Metallica’s WorldWired tour began in 2016. Dates are scheduled through 2020.

Metallica 2020 Tour Dates (Tickets are available here)

Mar 28 – San Francisco, CA – The Masonic (Benefit concert)
Apr 15 – Santiago, Chile – Estadio Nacional
Apr 18 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Campo Argentino de Polo
Apr 21 – Porto Alegre, Brazil – Arena do Gremio
Apr 23 – Curitiba, Brazil – Estadio Couto Pereira
Apr 25 – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Estadio do Morumbi
Apr 27 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil – Estadio do Mineirao
May 1, 3 – Charlotte, NC – Epicenter Festival at Charlotte Motor Speedway
May 8, 10 – Daytona Beach, FL – Rockville Festival at Daytona International Speedway
Sep 26 – Location TBD – Global Citizen Festival
Oct 9, 11 – Sacramento, CA – Aftershock Festival at Discovery Park

Related: When Lou Reed met Metallica

Best Classic Bands Staff

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