Metallica set to make history as first US heavy metal band to play in Saudi Arabia

Metallica members from left Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, Jan 10, 2017
Metallica members from left Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield, Jan 10, 2017 Copyright Charles Sykes/Invision
By Nicoleta Drougka
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The US heavy metal band is heading to Saudi Arabia in December to play for the first time at the Soundstorm Festival.

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Metallica will make history next month as the first US heavy metal band to play in Saudi Arabia. 

The group, composed of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo, will perform in Riyadh on December 14, kicking off the three-day Soundstorm festival, one of the region's biggest events of its kind since its launch in 2019.

A post from Metallica on Facebook read: “We're not done with 2023 yet, as an amazing opportunity has just come our way to perform at a major Festival, which we've never played, in a part of the world we rarely visit. We are excited to announce that on Thursday December 14th we will be the first ever hard rock band to play MDLBeast's Soundstorm Festival in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

Metallica members, from left, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield perform at a private concert for SiriusXM listeners at the NY Apollo Theater on Sept. 21, 2013
Metallica members, from left, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield perform at a private concert for SiriusXM listeners at the NY Apollo Theater on Sept. 21, 2013Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Public appearances by heavy metal musicians in Saudi Arabia are rare. In 2022, melodic death metal band Immmortal Pain from Saudi Arabia became the first heavy metal act to perform at a major public event when they performed at Comic Con Arabia.

Metallica made their live debut in a Middle Eastern country when they played Etihad Park in Abu Dhabi in 2011. However, they have never performed in concert in Saudi Arabia.

Other artists scheduled to appear at the Festival are Pharrell Williams, Chris Brown, H.E.R. and Black Eyed Peas.

According to reports, the 2022 Soundstorm was attended by 600,000 people.

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