Danny Wimmer Presents Cancels May Festivals, Adds Metallica To Expanded Louder Than Life

Rob Zombie
Jeff Hahne / Getty Images
– Rob Zombie
Rob Zombie playing 2019

Festival producer Danny Wimmer Presents has announced that its three spring rock festivals have been canceled “due to governmental restrictions on mass gatherings” amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has put the concert business on hold for the foreseeable future.

“We are crushed to say that Epicenter, Welcome To Rockville and Sonic Temple are being canceled due to the governmental restrictions on mass gatherings,” the statement from Danny Wimmer Presents reads. “We respect these directives and recognize they are in the best interest of the greater good, as well as the health and safety of our fans, musicians, partners, and staff. Before accepting this fate, we worked really hard to try to reschedule the festivals.  Unfortunately, scheduling conflicts, venue availabilities and a number of other factors out of our control made postponing impossible. Make no mistake, each of these festivals will return in May 2021 bigger and stronger than ever!”

The events, taking place in Concord, N.C. (Epicenter), Daytona Beach, Fla. (Welcome To Rockville), and Columbus, Ohio (Sonic Temple), were all scheduled for May, making the cancelations not the biggest surprise considering so many other major events being canceled or postponed. The events were to feature some of the top rock and metal acts in the world, as the producer has become known for, topped by artists including Metallica, Godsmack, Deftones, Staind, Slipknot, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins and dozens of others. 

The announcement says full refunds will be available to anyone with tickets for either event, with the option to also use those tickets for another 2020 DWP event or next year’s event.

Although the cancellation is surely sad news to fans, bands and the festival organizers alike, there was some good news to be heard on the day, with an additional day added to the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville in late September, with that day headlined by Metallica, which was originally scheduled to play all five of DWP’s rock fests, but later pulled out of Sonic Temple and Louder Than Life to allow for frontman James Hetfield’s recovery. 

“Yes, Metallica is back!” DWP’s statement explains. “We simply couldn’t accept that after all we’ve gone through together this year that there would be no Metallica performance East of the Mississippi.  And Metallica agrees!”

The band does agree, with its own statement titled “From The Bunker” explaining they will in fact be playing Louder Than Life Sept. 17, and that the band’s South American dates with Greta Van Fleet are still on.

“For now, go hang with your significant others, kids, pets, parents . . . whomever you have in your space,” the official Metallica statement concludes. “Create your playlists, watch some movies, try some old-fashioned board games and most importantly, stay safe. We’ll keep in touch!”

The news is the latest in what has been a wild ride for Danny Wimmer Presents, which at the end of 2019 was on top of the world with its wildly successful “Louisville Trifesta” events, sold-out Aftershock in California and the Metallica dual-day headliner announcement. Adding to that was that Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies had become a significant investor in the independent festival promoter, leading to proclamations that promoter was in acquisition mode to acquire other successful standalone independent events.
“While we don’t know if this pandemic will end in time for Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, Bourbon & Beyond or Aftershock, rest assured that all passes will be refunded in the unfortunate event that any of these festivals are prevented from happening because of COVID-19,” DWP’s statement assures.