JAMES HETFIELD's Mandatory 'Sobriety Weekends' Forced METALLICA's Festival Cancelations

February 27, 2020

The organizers of the Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life festivals have offered more information about the cancelation of METALLICA's appearances at this year's events.

It was announced earlier this month that METALLICA would not perform at the two Danny Wimmer Presents-produced U.S. festivals this spring and summer so that frontman James Hetfield can continue his recovery after re-entering rehab last fall.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS will now headline Sonic Temple on Friday, May 17 while TOOL will close the show on Sunday, May 17, joining Saturday night's (May 16) headliners SLIPKNOT.

Earlier today, Ultimate Guitar posted a new interview with Gary Spivack, executive vice president and talent buyer for Danny Wimmer Presents, in which he explained in a greater detail the circumstances that led to METALLICA pulling out of the two festivals and how he and the rest of the DWP team went about finding suitable replacements.

He said: "Well, we got the call from METALLICA's management team, Q Prime, who are, the best managers in the business, hands down, and said that James has Sobriety Weekends that are requirement weekend that are throughout the calendar year, and unfortunately, a couple of those weekends fell on our festivals. Although METALLICA will still be at Welcome To Rockville, Epicenter and Aftershock in 2020 with us, we did lose them for Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life. So, then it was, how do you even contemplate filling the shoes of the biggest band in our world? Well, you do it by finding two of the biggest bands in our world. So, we got RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, with John Frusciante, which will be one of only four shows they'll be doing in 2020, and of course, Grammy Award-winning artist TOOL."

Sobriety Weekends typically consist of a two-night/three-day readmission to a 30-day residential program to continue to enhance rehab patients' ongoing recovery.

Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival will take place May 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio, while Louder Than Life is scheduled for September 18-20 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Hetfield posted an open letter on the official METALLICA web site in which he said about the canceled dates: "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."

Hetfield 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 singer/guitarist added: "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 concluded: "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."

The musician stressed that METALLICA will play all other announced 2020 shows, including an April run in South America, the Epicenter festival in Charlotte on May 1 and May 3, Welcome To Rockville in Daytona on May 8 and May 10 and Aftershock in Sacramento on October 9 and October 11. The band will play two unique sets at each of those three festivals as previously promised.

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