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Metallica Cancels Two Festival Appearances So Hetfield Can Focus on His Health

Heavy metal godfathers Metallica have recently announced that will be cancelling two of their festival appearances this year so front man, James Hetfield can focus on his recovery treatment.

Metallica had plans to headline five hard rock music festivals this year but cancelled dates at Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival in Ohio on May 15-17 and Louder Than Life at Highland Festival Grounds in Kentucky on Sept. 18-20.

The five festival dates were the only live dates the band had scheduled for the year. They will still be playing the three remaining dates in Charlotte, NC on May 1-3, at Welcome to Rockville festival in Daytona Beach, FL on May 8-10 and at Aftershock at Discovery Park in Sacramento, CA on Oct. 9-11.

On Feb.24, Hetfield released a statement to his fans explaining his reasons for the cancellations. “It pains me to write this, but I have to let all of you know I cannot make it to Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville this year,” Hetfield said. “As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy, I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved.”

Hetfield has struggled with addiction on and off throughout his career. During the 80’s the band was often referred to as Alcoholica. This led to demons that would surface later on and may have contributed to the singer’s brief departure from the band.

His first trip to rehab occurred in 2001 which was a cathartic process for Hetfield. “I came out and was scared to go back into that environment,” the singer told The Chronical in 2003. “All that enabling, all the temptations. I had to introduce myself to the band and tell them what I needed to survive. And they listened.”

Much of what Hetfield and the band was feeling around that time was documented in the album, ‘St. Anger’ (released 2003) and the movie, ‘Some Kind of Monster’ (released in 2004).

Despite the progress Hetfield made in the early 2000’s, he was unable to keep the demons at bay and he checked back into a rehab facility on Sept. 27, 2019. This led to the cancellation of tour dates in Australia and New Zealand and the rescheduling of the band’s second acoustic ‘All Within My Hands’ foundation benefit concert which was moved from March 28 to Sept. 12.

Although there have been many setbacks on Hetfield’s road to wellness, it his hopeful that the cancellations are a sign of his commitment. He also assured fans that “therapy is going well”.

Metallica is a Bay Area metal band that have been credited as being pioneers of the thrash genre. Throughout the years that have been known to keep the old school spirit alive offering reasonably priced merchandise to fans as well as remastered vinyl editions of many of their releases.    

Photo Credit: Ross Halfin, Billboard Magazine

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