Metallica Cancel Festival Appearances That Conflict With James Hetfield’s Recovery Events

Last fall, Metallica cancelled a tour so that James Hetfield could enter an addiction treatment program. The band has since set up a handful of live dates around the world, but today they have cancelled two of them because they interfere with “critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved,” as Hetfield wrote in a statement announcing the cancellations.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

The two events are Sonic Temple in Columbus, OH and Louder Than Life in Louisville, KY — Metallica were set to headline both. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool have been announced as new headliners for Sonic Temple; a replacement headliner for Louder Than Life is forthcoming.

Last week, Hetfield sang at at an Eddie Money tribute show, making it the first he performed in public since entering rehab.

Here’s his 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

A list of Metallica’s 2020 appearances can be found here.