Metallica played through weather warning

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The boss of the Pinkpop festival in the Netherlands found himself under fire this week after allowing Metallica to perform their headline set despite severe weather warnings.

The show was held up for an hour while a heavy thunderstorm passed overhead on Monday – but despite pressure to cancel the rest of the event, Jan Smeets allowed James Hetfield and co to play as planned.

The 70,000-strong audience were advised to stay away from sound and lighting masts, but to remain calm. No injuries were reported, but festival staff issues foil blankets to ward off cold as a precaution.

Weather alerts have been taken more seriously in recent years after a spate of stage collapses. Five people died and over 130 were injured at Belgium’s Pukkelpop in 2011 after a thunderstorm raged over the arena. A week previously seven died and 58 were injured when the Indiana State Fair stage collapsed due to high winds. Cheap Trick had narrowly avoided death weeks earlier when a freak gust of wind caused havoc at the Ottawa Bluesfest.

DutchNews.nl reports that Pinkpop promoter Smeets was criticised in the press for allowing the event to continue despite an extreme-code warning from the national weather office. But local mayor Raymond Vlecken defended the decision and denied that it had been irresponsible.

Metallica’s By Request tour comes to Sonisphere next month, a week after their controversial Glastonbury appearance. While the setlist as voted for by ticketholders hasn’t been stock-full of surprises, the poll saw the band playing St Anger live for the first time in years at Rock Am Ring in Germany over the weekend.