Metallica announced on Monday that they will regretfully have to cancel two upcoming festival appearances, the Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival in Columbus, OH in May and the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville, KY in September. Both headlining slots have been scrapped to allow frontman James Hetfield more time to work on his recovery, after re-entering rehab in September.
In response to the news, Hetfield wrote a message to Metallica fans that the band sent out Monday on his behalf. After addressing refunds for those that were hoping to see the band and assuring them that they would honor the rest of their 2020 schedule, James stressed the importance of putting himself first during his recovery.
“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,” he explained. “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.”
Hetfield goes on say he is looking forward to stepping back on the stage, and is optimistic about the future. “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.”
Last week Hetfield had his first public performance, taking part in a tribute to Eddie Money and covering his song, “Baby Hold On.”
Ultimately these cancellations are for “recovery events” that cannot be moved, according to James. Metallica is set for more tour dates in South America in April, and several more festivals later this year.