Metallica Cancel Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life Festival Dates
Metallica have canceled their plans to perform at the Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life festivals this summer.
"It pains me to write this, but I have to let all of you know that I cannot make it to Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville this year," singer James Hetfield announced on the band's Facebook page. "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."
Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool will take over for Metallica's planned May 15 and May 17 headlining sets at Sonic Temple. New headliners for Louder Than Life have yet to be revealed. In his statement, which you can read in full below, Hetfield pledges that the band will play all of its other previously announced 2020 shows. That includes the Epicenter, Welcome to Rockville and Aftershock festivals.
Metallica canceled a planned tour of Australia and New Zealand in September so Hetfield could enter rehab. "As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years," the band said in a statement at the time. "He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again."
The following month, the band announced plans to perform two shows each at five different summer 2020 North American music festivals. In January 2020, Hetfield made his first public appearance since the rehab announcement, at the opening of a museum exhibition dedicated to his custom-built cars.
When asked about Metallica's future at the event, Hetfield expressed a positive uncertainty. "Right now, I’m sitting in Peterson Museum, and I don’t know what’s going to happen next," he said. "That’s the beauty of this. We’ll sit down and figure out what works best for us. Whatever is coming up, we don’t know.”
Earlier this month, the band's second annual All Within My Hands Helping Hands Concert, which was originally scheduled for March 28, was pushed back to Sept. 12. Metallica confessed in a press release that they "may have been a little too ambitious" with the original date, "in terms of getting our shit together."
The recording of Metallica's 2003 St. Anger album was halted for half a year while Hetfield entered a rehab program for alcohol and other unspecified addiction issues. His abrupt departure from the studio and the unconventional group therapy the band underwent during the recording sessions were captured in the 2004 documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.
Metallica are slated to return to the road April 15, to kick off a two-week tour of South America in Santiago, Chile.
James Hetfield's complete statement on the Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life cancellations:
Dear Metallica Family,
It pains me to write this, but I have to let all of you know that I cannot make it to Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville this year. 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. 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.
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.
I want to stress that the band will play all other announced 2020 shows.
I am looking forward to getting back to playing and seeing all our great South American fans in April. And, of course, playing Epicenter in Charlotte, Welcome to Rockville in Daytona and Aftershock in Sacramento. We will still play two unique sets at each of these festivals.
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.