Score one for the little guy—make that the little broke guy.
In a press conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne announced that admission to this year's Ozzfest would be free.
Sharon Osbourne said she made decision when she realized that the popular summer tours, and their escalating ticket costs, were effectively too expensive for many diehards to attend. (Top prices for last year's tour hit $150; according to stats from the concert trade Pollstar, Ozzfest sales have been shrinking in recent years.)
As a result, each of the 25 dates on the 12th annual Ozzfest road show—this year subtitled FreeFest—won't cost hard-rocking fans a thing.
"For the last few years, ticket prices have steadily climbed as artists demand more and more money for summer tours," the former reality star said. "We certainly want everybody to make money; however, we also want the kids to be able to afford to come out and have an incredible experience. If we continued with the traditional touring festival model, we would have no choice but to raise ticket prices again this year."
Instead, the Ozzfest brain trust and tour producer Live Nation will ask corporate sponsors to pony up slightly more than they have in years past to underwrite the festival and redress the financial balance. Additional revenue will come from food and souvenir concessions.
"We're reaching the same point we did years ago when kids no longer wanted to pay for overpriced CDs," Osbourne said. "As a result, they found alternative ways of getting music. That's what's happening with summer touring in this country, it's outpricing itself."
While tickets for the gigs are going to be given out for free, fans will still need them to get into the shows. The tickets will be made available on the Websites of various sponsors; further information will be available at www.ozzfest.com or www.livenation.com.
As of now, the only confirmed headliner is Ozzy Osbourse.
"We have bands committed, but we're hoping that after today's announcement, we'll have a whole influx of artists who want to be a part of something this groundbreaking," Sharon Osbourne said.
She added that she didn't expect bands to "tour all summer for nothing," but invited them to simply "come out and play a date or two.
"They can sell their T-shirts, CDs and whatever else they've got," she said.
The traveling festival is slated to kick off July 7 in Los Angeles. While no other definitive dates have been announced, Osbourne says tour buses will also make stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Miami and Nashville, among other cities.