"This will change everybody's impression of the way touring in the summer in America should be." -- Sharon OsbourneImagine a day of wall-to-wall hard rock. Imagine the world's greatest headliner sharing a bill with cutting edge new artists. Imagine if this brass-knuckled beast was hellbent on coming to your town. Imagine this earth-pounding event...FOR FREE. 2007 will forever mark the year Ozzfest spiked the concert industry's punch and gave every head-banging American kid a reason to strap on an air guitar with the historic announcement that tickets to the summer's premiere touring concert festival won't cost fans a dime. Testing one, two, three... That's right, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and tour producer Live Nation broke the news today at the Concert Industry Consortium in Los Angeles that their 12th annual hard rock spectacular — a 25-date extravaganza launching July 7 in Los Angeles — is pulling the plug on ticket prices and giving the power back to the fans calling this summer's Ozzfest "FreeFest." The other Ozzfestcities as of now are San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Dallas, San Antonio, Kansas City, St Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Hartford, Charlotte, Atlanta, West Palm Beach, Nashville. Note: a final confirmed list of cities and dates is forthcoming. "For the last few years," says Sharon, "ticket prices have steadily climbed as artists demand more and more money for summer tours. 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." Cited as "one of rock's biggest juggernauts" in the cover feature of Sunday's New York Times' "Arts and Leisure" section (6/25/06), Ozzfest and Live Nation will turn to sponsors to provide added support for the festival's new incarnation. This summer's Ozzfest will provide select sponsors with a unique opportunity to engage fans one-on-one utilizing one of music's best known brands. "We're reaching the same point we did years ago when kids no longer wanted to pay for overpriced CDs," compares Sharon. "As a result, they found alternative ways of getting music. That's what's happening with summer touring in this country, it's out-pricing itself. We started this and we want to keep it and we want to make it bigger and bigger each year by getting bigger sponsors to be involved with the festival and underwriting the festival. That's what it's about." "For the past 11 years, music fans have made Ozzfest the most successful and enduring rock music festival in the United States," said Jason Garner, Live Nation President of North American Concerts. "What better way to say 'Thank You' to the music fans who have made this possible than inviting them to attend Ozzfest for free." To gain entry into the event, fans will go to www.ozzfest.com or www.livenation.com to find links that will direct them to special sponsor sites where tickets can be secured. More details regarding the process are forthcoming. As Ozzfest's founder and namesake, Ozzy will make his triumphant return to the headlining position on this year's mainstage after surprising fans last year by performing on the down-and-dirty second stage at a handful of dates. Audiences can expect the Prince of Darkness to unveil new songs from his forthcoming studio album, Ozzy's first disc of new material since 2001. While the rest of the in-progress bill is under wraps, Sharon points out, "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 ground breaking. We know there aren't any major headlining acts that would tour all summer for nothing, but we're confident we can turn some of the genre's biggest bands on to what we're doing and have them come out to play a date or two. If they're in town and want the rush of performing in front of 20,000 frenzied kids, they're more than welcome to join us. They can sell their t-shirts, CDs and whatever else they've got. They're also welcome to book their own shows in local venues on the day of Ozzfest. I'm not stopping them. People have to be creative and think of alternatives." Since 1996, Ozfest has been a virtual breeding ground for rising bands. The festival has been instrumental in igniting the careers of platinum-selling artists like SYSTEM OF A DOWN, DISTURBED, LINKIN PARK, INCUBUS, SLIPKNOT, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE and GODSMACK. Along with supporting bands on the rise including AVENGED SEVENFOLD, MUDVAYNE, LAMB OF GOD, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and LACUNA COIL, among others. "Ozzfest was created to keep this genre of music alive by showcasing new talent," states Sharon. "You better believe we're going to keep perpetuating that by hand-picking compelling new bands that are hungry for Ozzfest's career-making exposure."
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