SHARON OSBOURNE On 'Free' OZZFEST: 'I'm Not Trying To Be Mother Teresa Of Music Industry'

Mark Brown of the Scripps Howard News Service recently spoke to Sharon Osbourne about her decision to stage this year's Ozzfest as a free event.

"I'm not trying to be the Mother Teresa of the music industry, because I like money more than anybody else," Sharon Osbourne said, then let out a wicked laugh.

"You have to be creative. You have to keep evolving. You can't do the standard, standard thing. Concert tickets are outrageous.

"This isn't a Barbra Streisand audience. These kids cannot afford to keep shelling out all this money, every year charging more and more. The brakes have to come on somewhere because it'll end up like the recording industry . . . who've bankrupted themselves. It's a joke."

The concept started with frustration from Sharon Osbourne, who has promoted the show for a dozen years and seen band fees go up, while Ozzy's take went down.

"I was talking to MARILYN MANSON (management) and I was told, 'Well, he's been offered Family Values, he's been offered to go out with EVANESCENCE, so if you want him you're going to have to bid,' " Osbourne said.

"Then I said to (Live Nation president Mike) Rapino, 'What if we give the tickets away free?' He said, 'We might as well — nobody's making any money here.' So that's what we did. We found sponsors to come in and underwrite the running part. And we found bands who just want the stage, they just want to perform."

"I'm seeing (others do free shows), especially in Europe. And I'm happy. If you can do it and you can use sponsors, why not? We all make an awful lot of money," Osbourne said.

What made this experiment float?

"It was absolutely the bands," Osbourne said. "Bands we have great relationships with, bands that believe in what we're doing. They had the same sensibility as us and said, 'Consider us in.' I cannot give them enough credit for holding firm."

What does success look like to Sharon Osbourne?

"At the end of the tour, if we've done it successfully, the right people will have gotten in, there'll be no trouble, everybody does well, the buildings are happy with their parking and their beer and pizza sales, and everybody goes home happy and the kids like the music. Then we can do it again."

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