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Metallica Officially Drop off Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life as James Hetfield Continues Treatment for Addiction

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As rumored, Metallica will no longer be playing this May’s Sonic Temple and September’s Louder Than Life festivals. Tool and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will, indeed, be replacing Metallica for Sonic Temple; no replacement has yet been announced for Louder Than Life. The band still plans to play a series of South American shows in April — the month before those Sonic Temple will place — as well as headline May’s Epicenter and Welcome to Rockville and this fall’s Aftershock fests.

The reason Metallica are bowing out of those two specific festivals? James Hetfield’s ongoing treatment for addiction issues. Says the guitarist/vocalist in a statement:

“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 the Epicenter in Charlotte, Welcome To Rockville, in Daytona and Aftershock Festival 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.

“- James”

Danny Wimmer, the organizer of the two affected festivals, has released a pair of statements which are slightly different. You can read the Sonic Temple one below…

“Of course, we are all disappointed that Metallica won’t be playing Sonic Temple. But really, when you stop and think about it, I am nothing but proud and supportive of James. Let’s be straight – we have lost a lot of great people recently including Chester, Chris, Keith and Scott. Something needs to change. As a rock community, we have to support those that are going to take a stand. And that is exactly what James is doing. He is changing his life’s direction to a better place and we should all find our own strength in honor of his courage.

“When we learned about this, the DWP team went into overdrive to find amazing replacements for you. Honestly, given how close we are to Sonic Temple, I was worried about who would be available to play. I am inspired by how willing James’ peers have been to step up and support him. I am extremely grateful that both Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool rearranged their schedules on short notice to fill in for Metallica at Sonic Temple. Both bands are excited to play Sonic Temple.

“While I am disappointed that I will not get to see our original Metallica vision come to fruition, I am thrilled with the experience that you will be getting at Sonic Temple this year. We look forward to seeing you there.

“- Danny Wimmer”

…and here’s the one for Louder Than Life:

“Of course, we are all disappointed that Metallica won’t be playing Louder Than Life. But really, when you stop and think about it, I am nothing but proud and supportive of James. Let’s be straight – we have lost a lot of great people recently including Chester, Chris, Keith and Scott. Something needs to change. As a rock community, we have to support those that are going to take a stand. And that is exactly what James is doing. He is changing his life’s direction to a better place and we should all find our own strength in honor of his courage.

“We are working furiously to find the best possible artists for Louder Than Life and will announce the full lineup soon. Thank you for your continued trust and support. I promise that Louder Than Life will be an incredible weekend.

“– Danny Wimmer”

Metallica dates which will still proceed as planned are as follows:

April 15 – Santiago, Chile – Estadio Nacional [tickets]
April 18 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Campo Argentino de Polo [tickets]
April 21 – Porto Alegre, Brazil – Arena do Grêmio [tickets]
April 23 – Curitiba, Brazil – Estádio Couto Pereira [tickets]
April 25 – São Paulo, Brazil – Estádio do Morumbi [tickets]
April 27 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil – Estádio do Mineirão [tickets]
May 1 & 3 – Epicenter Festival – Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC [tickets]
May 8 & 10 – Welcome to Rockville – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL [tickets]
October 9 & 11 – Aftershock Festival – Discovery Park, Sacramento, CA [tickets]

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