Metallica are bowing out of their headlining appearances at the Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life festivals due to schedule conflicts with James Hetfield’s recovery program. In their place, Tool and Red Hot Chili Peppers will now play Sonic Temple in Columbus, Ohio, with an updated lineup for Louisville’s Louder Than Life yet to be revealed.
Hetfield had entered rehab back in September to tackle his struggles with addiction. As it stood, Metallica were supposed to deliver two headlining sets (on separate nights) at five Danny Wimmer Presents festivals in 2020. The band is still set to play Epicenter, Welcome to Rockville, and Aftershock festivals, but the weekends of Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life conflict with important dates in Hetfield’s recovery schedule.
In an open letter, the Metallica frontman stressed that the band will commit to those festivals and their South American tour in April while explaining the decision to miss Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life.
“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.
Metallica were set to headline the Friday (May 15th) and Sunday (May 17th) of Sonic Temple. Red Hot Chili Peppers will now top the Friday bill, with Tool closing out the fest on Sunday night. Slipknot will still headline the Saturday night.
Tool’s addition to Sonic Temple comes on the same day the band announced an extensive headlining spring North American tour.
See the updated lineup poster for Sonic Temple below.