Hearts will be racing and pounding to a different beat Friday night at Newton’s Iowa Speedway.
Cars will be filling the lots, not the track, when Metallica’s Worldwired Tour cranks up the heat in a second concert to benefit The Native Fund. Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat will run in the opening slots.
Last year’s inaugural Native Fund concert turned Kinnick Stadium into a country cavalcade, as 50,000 fans cheered on headliner Blake Shelton, as well as Big & Rich, Thomas Rhett, Tucker Beathard and a slew of up and coming stars. The event was designed to raise funds and awareness for the new “Iowans Helping Iowans” initiative from Cedar Rapids native actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher and former University of Iowa Hawkeye and NFL star Dallas Clark, who now lives in Humboldt County, northwest of Des Moines.
Shifting the flavor from country to hard-rockin’ metal mania this time around will help spread the word even farther about the opportunities to donate time and money to help Iowans recover from natural disasters.
“It’s not about just country fans helping each other out,” Kutcher, 39, said by phone while driving around Atlanta with his wife, actress Mila Kunis. “It’s about everybody, and music is really diverse. Different types of people listen to different types of music, but we want everyone to be involved in what it is that we’re doing.
“Metallica is obviously, an unbelievable band, and were willing to come and do this show with us and be our partners. We just thought, it doesn’t have to always be the same thing. We can have different kinds of bands come in in different years, which attract different types of folks. Our foundation really is about everyone.
“We have a different location and a different kind of music, but all the same message, which is, ‘Hey, we’re here to have each other’s backs. We’ve got yours, and we hope you’ve got ours.’ ”
Down the road, the nonprofit foundation’s goal is to also help Iowa children facing life-threatening illnesses and Iowa’s post-9/11 veterans in need of medical and other assistance. A donation already has been made to the new UIHC children’s hospital in Iowa City.
Kutcher is flying in for the concert, but Kunis will have to stay on the job in Atlanta. “I’m very disappointed,” she said. “I do appreciate this.”
Concert capacity is about 37,000, with standing-room-only on the floor and reserved seating in the stands. Tickets are still available through the link on Thenativefund.org and for walk-ups at the door.
Metallica was one of the metal bands creating sight and sound explosions that revolutionized arena shows in the ’80s.
“I’m sure it’s going to be epic,” Kutcher said. “Lars (Ulrich) and the band have a vision that they like to exact when they put on a show, and their shows are extraordinary.
“You’re in for a show, in for a treat, and I know they’re bringing the full scale for this thing. I think it’s going to be an unbelievable show. People going to freak out.”
Last year’s concert raised more than money.
“We were able to set the foundation of what this fund is about, which is not just money, but about bringing people together and creating a collective of people that are interested and willing to help each other in time of need,” Kutcher said.
About 4,500 people signed up to The Native Fund’s volunteer database for disaster relief, which Kutcher said “is pretty incredible.”
High school students have jumped onboard, too, as student councils across the state competed to see which school could raise the most money and sign up the most people to the volunteer list. Oskaloosa High School was the big winner, with $4,000 and 700 pledges to help. Kutcher and Kunis shocked the students by thanking them in person April 6.
They were in Iowa for a gala in West Des Moines on April 8, where Kutcher received the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award. He was honored for his humanitarian, educational and entrepreneurial efforts at home and abroad — from co-founding the Native Fund to creating Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children, which develops software to help combat human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
The Native Fund emerged from a conversation with Clark during the Super Bowl in Dallas in 2011. Both expressed their frustration over not being able to help more in the wake of EF5 tornadoes in northeast Iowa and epic flooding, in May and June of 2008.
Kutcher donated some computers and money after the floods, but said that “just didn’t seem like enough.”
“When it happened, I wanted to be helpful, but I didn’t know how to be helpful,” Kutcher said. “I didn’t know what organization to give to. I didn’t know how to move the needle on helping people effectively, and (Clark) felt the same way. ...
“We talked about how much Iowa shaped who we are and how we are, and we both wanted to give back.”
So when Clark retired from football in 2014 and came home to help with his family’s farming enterprises, he had time to start turning their vision into a reality. He contacted Kutcher, who said, “Count me in.”
It’s a perfect fit for the way Kutcher wants to leverage his celebrity for good.
“The way I was raised, it’s take care of yourself, take care of your family, take care of your friends, take care of your community.
“They’re like these concentric rings around you in your life,” he said. “And once you build the capacity to have full responsibility over yourself and take care of yourself, then your obligation becomes taking care of a family. And then your obligation becomes taking care of your friends. And then your obligation becomes taking care of your community.
“I’ve just gotten to the point in time in my life where I’m able to take care of my friends, and I’m able to take care of my family, and I’m able to take care of myself, and I’d be doing a disservice to who I believe I am as a person — I’d be lying to myself about who I am — if I didn’t start trying to take care of other folks now. I’ve learned to be that kind of person from how I was raised and where I was raised. This is a perfect, absolute fit,” he said.
“Also, when you’re trying to make an impact, and you’re trying to do good things, you try to stay in your lane, stay in your wheelhouse and where you can be effective. I know that my voice means something in Iowa, and Iowa means something to me, so it seemed like the right place and the right time and the right thing to do.”
WHAT: Metallica, with Avenged Sevenfold and Volbeat
WHERE: 6 p.m. Friday (6/9)
WHEN: Iowa Speedway, 3333 Rusty Wallace Dr., Newton
TICKETS: $59.50 to $139.50, Ticketmaster outlets, Thenativefund.org
BENEFITS: The Native Fund, nonprofit established by Ashton Kutcher and Dallas Clark to help mobilize funds and volunteers to aid Iowans in times of natural disasters; the state’s post-9/11 veterans in need of medical and other assistance; and Iowa children facing life-threatening illnesses.
VOLUNTEER DATABASE: To sign up to help in times of need, go to Thenativefund.org