Danny Wimmer Presents Explain How James Hetfield's Recovery Conflicted With Festival Dates

Danny Wimmer Presents have revealed that James Hetfield's 'sobriety weekends' conflicted with Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life.

Danny Wimmer Presents Explain How James Hetfield's Recovery Conflicted With Festival Dates

Initially, Metallica were set to play two headlining shows at each Danny Wimmer Presents festival this year. But earlier this week, Metallica announced that they were pulling out of Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival on May 15 and 17 in Columbus, Ohio; and Louder Than Life on September 18 and 20 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Metallica had to cancel the shows because James Hetfield had events important for his recovery from addiction during those weekends.

“As part of my continuing effort to get and stay healthy,” James said in a statement. “I have critical recovery events on those weekends that cannot be moved.”

Now, in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, DWP Executive VP Gary Spivack gave some more details, explaining that James had "Sobriety Weekends" which clashed with the festival dates.

“We got the call from Metallica’s management team, Q Prime, who are, the best managers in the business, hands down,” Spivack said. “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.”

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Hitting milestones and having structure is helpful in recovery, so while fans may be saddened by this news, it’s important that James is putting his health first. James has been struggling with addiction for years, and the recovery process can be long and difficult.

Meanwhile, DWP is booking some huge acts in Metallica's place. Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool have been announced as replacements for Sonic Temple.

“How do you even contemplate filling the shoes of the biggest band in our world?” Spivack said. “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.”

Louder than Life is still working on filling Metallica’s spot.

“Of course, we are all disappointed that Metallica won’t be playing Louder Than Life,” Danny Wimmer said in a statement. “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.”

The performances at Epicenter, Welcome to Rockville and Aftershock festivals are still going ahead as scheduled on the following dates:


1-3 Epicenter – Concord, North Carolina
8-10 Welcome To Rockville – Daytona Beach, Florida


9-11 Aftershock – Sacramento, California

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