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Metallica Cancel Two Festival Appearances as James Hetfield Continues Therapy

“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,” singer says

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Kory Grow Feb 25, 2020

Metallica have canceled two festival dates as James Hetfield continues to seek therapy for addiction. Photo: Richard Isaac/Shutterstock

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Metallica are canceling their appearances at this summer’s Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life festivals, while James Hetfield continues to seek treatment following a relapse last fall.

All of Metallica’s other scheduled concerts this year, including their appearances at Welcome to Rockville (May 8th and 9th) and Aftershock (October 9th and 11th) will go on as planned. Despite the cancellations, Hetfield said his fans should count on him and that the therapy is working.

“As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy, I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved,” the singer and guitarist said 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 festivals, which will go on without Metallica, are still scheduled for May 15th and 17th (Sonic Temple) and September 18th and 20th (Louder Than Life). The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tool and Slipknot now serving as Sonic Temple headliners; Louder Than Life’s headliners are yet to be announced.

“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,” Hetfield said. “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.”

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Last September, Metallica canceled tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, revealing that Hetfield was seeking treatment. His addiction issues were shown in the 2004 documentary, Some Kind of Monster, which chronicled how the band almost fell apart around the time it made St. Anger. In 2017, Hetfield said he had been sober for 15 years on the Joe Rogan Experience.

Hetfield made his first public appearance since getting rehab last month, speaking at the opening of an exhibition of his hotrods in Los Angeles. Last week, he made his first performance, singing Eddie Money’s “Baby Hold On” at a tribute to the late singer. Metallica are scheduled to make their return to the stage in Santiago, Chile, on April 15th. Their first North American date will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 1st.

“Beyond 2020, I am optimistic about the blessings I have been given and what the future brings,” Hetfield said in his statement. “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.”

Read James Hetfield’s full statement:

Dear Metallica Family,

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.

– James

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