Metallica canceled planned headline sets at the Sonic Temple (May 15 & 17 in Columbus, OH) and Louder Than Life (Sept. 18 & 20 in Louisville, KY) music festivals on Monday (Feb. 24) in order to let singer/guitarist James Hetfield continue his recovery. The band released a statement from Hetfield about the cancellations, which he said were part of his effort to stay on the path of sobriety.
“As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy, I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved,” Hetfield wrote in a statement. “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.”
Though he regretted canceling the appearances, Hetfield noted that his therapy is going well and that it was “absolutely necessary for me to look after my mental, physical and spiritual health.” He stressed that the band is committed to performing the rest of their announced 2020 shows, which at press time included a sold-out show at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, on April 15, as well as other South American gigs in Argentina and Brazil, followed by planned shows in Charlottle, N.C. (May 1, 3), the Welcome to Rockville festival in Daytona Beach, Fla. (May 8, 10), as well as the All Within My Hands benefit show for their charity at The Masonic in San Francisco (Sept. 12), a Sept. 26 appearance at the Global Citizen Festival and Oct. 9 and 11 shows in Sacramento.
Hetfield said he was looking forward to those shows, where he promised the band will play two uinque sets at each. “Beyond 2020, I am optimistic about the blessings I have been given and what the future brings,” he said. “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.”
According to promoter Danny Wimmer Presents, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool are the new headliners for Sonic Temple, which will take place at the MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. “First and foremost, I want to say how much I respect and support James for taking care of himself, and for his commitment to getting healthy,” wrote Wimmer.
After Metallica postponed a planned Australia/New Zealand tour in September to allow Hetfield time to enter a rehab facility, the singer made his first public performance appearance last week at a tribute to late “Take Me Home Tonight” rocker Eddie Money.