Foo Fighters Call Off Formula One Abu Dhabi Race Performance Due to ‘Unforeseen Medical Circumstances’

by Liz Holland

Iconic rock band Foo Fighters canceled their Sunday Abu Dhabi performance due to“unforeseen medical circumstances”. The news was reported by the entertainment company putting on the show via social media channels yesterday. The band was slated to play the Formula One Race, and the team behind the event is devastated at the news. However, promoter John Lickrish was able to book new acts to headline the show in a pinch. The show will now feature EDM artists DJ Snake and Martin Garrix. 

The news came via a phone call to Lickrish in the wee hours of the morning in Dubai on Friday. As reported in an exclusive interview with The National, Lickrish assumed the call was to confirm final details. Unfortunately, Lickrish says “It was the band’s management telling me that once the plane landed a member of the band had to be rushed to a hospital in Chicago.” Lickrish goes on to explain his initial reaction and concern for the musicians’ well-being.  “My immediate reaction was to see if the person and the band were OK,” Lickrish said.  “Then the situation really hit me because the advance team from the Foo Fighters were already here in Abu Dhabi. The show was being set up, even the band’s gear had arrived.”

Foo Fighters Out, Leaving Big Shoes to Fill

Lickrish immediately began a search for a new artist to fill the now empty spot. Unfortunately, he an into several logistical roadblocks with travel times and differing time zones. Lickrish tells The National,  “We started first by looking at the time zones. It was nearly 3 am in Abu Dhabi and that meant it was the afternoon in Los Angeles. It was also near midnight in London. We started calling the music agents and managers that we know to see who was available and could pull off a big show at short notice.”

 Lickrish says they compiled a list of potential artists including Coldplay and Drake. However, it was too short notice for either act to make it happen realistically. Lickrish also almost booked Liam Gallagher, but “the lack of flights available and preparation time was also a challenge.”

Last Minute EDM Booking Saves the Event

Lickrish and his team then started thinking of who may be in the country already. Booking someone already there would avoid travel issues and COVID-related restrictions. “We immediately thought of Alicia Keys but by the time we contacted her manager said she was already on her flight to the US,” says Lickrish. “And we realized that Martin Garrix and DJ Snake, both massive EDM stars in their own right – and who I would be happy to headline any festival – were already here and interested.”

Although booking an act at the last minute for such a huge event must have certainly been a relief, Lickrish says when he got the news that Foo Fighters were unable to do the show, “it was like a gut punch.” 

“Believe me, getting the Foo Fighters has been a dream come true for me because I am a massive fan first and foremost…But I just want people to know that they were coming. Their team was already here and it took a health emergency to cancel it. I wish the band very well, and I feel Garrix and DJ Snake will do a great show tonight,” Lickrish says. 

Foo Fighters have yet to make an official statement on the situation at the time of writing.