Last updated

  • July–August
  • November
  • United States
  • Japan
Years active
  • 1996–2008
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2015–2018
Website ozzfest.com

Ozzfest is an annual festival tour of the United States and sometimes Europe (and for the first time Japan in 2013) featuring performances by many heavy metal and hard rock musical groups. It was founded by Ozzy Osbourne [1] and his wife Sharon Osbourne, [2] both of whom also organise each yearly tour with their son Jack Osbourne. [3] The Ozzfest tour has featured bands of a variety of genres within heavy metal and hard rock, including alternative metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, metalcore, hardcore punk, deathcore, nu metal, death metal, post-hardcore, gothic metal and black metal. Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath have played the tour several times over the years. [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Hard rock is a loosely defined subgenre of rock music that began in the mid-1960s, with the garage, psychedelic and blues rock movements. It is typified by a heavy use of aggressive vocals, distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with keyboards.

Ozzy Osbourne English heavy metal vocalist and songwriter

John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English singer, songwriter, actor and reality television star who rose to prominence during the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, during which he adopted the nickname "The Prince of Darkness". Osbourne was fired from the band in 1979 due to alcohol and drug problems, but went on to have a successful solo career, releasing eleven studio albums, the first seven of which were all awarded multi-platinum certifications in the United States. Osbourne has since reunited with Black Sabbath on several occasions. He rejoined the band in 1997 and helped record the group’s final studio album 13 (2013) before they embarked on a farewell tour which culminated in a final performance in their home city, Birmingham, England, in February 2017. His longevity and success have earned him the informal title of "Godfather of Heavy Metal".



Ozzfest concert poster on an empty storefront door in downtown Prague, Czech Republic (Summer 2002). PragueOzzfest.jpg
Ozzfest concert poster on an empty storefront door in downtown Prague, Czech Republic (Summer 2002).

1996–1999: Early years

The festival was created in 1996 by Ozzy Osbourne's wife and manager, Sharon Osbourne, after she was rebuffed by Lollapalooza when she tried to get Ozzy on that festival circuit. [4] The tour was well-received, which prompted the festival to become a yearly occurrence. [1]

Lollapalooza Music festival in the United States

Lollapalooza (Lolla) is an annual four-day music festival based in Chicago, Illinois at Grant Park. Performances include but are not limited to alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Lollapalooza has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups and various visual artists. The four-day music festival in Grant Park hosts an estimated 400,000 people each year and sells out annually. Lollapalooza is considered one of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world and one of the longest running in the United States.

The first Ozzfest was not a national tour, but rather a two-day festival held in Phoenix, Arizona and Devore, California on 25 and 26 October 1996 respectively.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city in Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,660,272 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.

Devore, California Neighborhood in San Bernardino County, California, United States

Devore Heights, or Devore, is a rural and mountainous neighborhood in San Bernardino, California. It is located just north of the junction of Interstate 15 and Interstate 215, about 12 miles north-west of downtown San Bernardino. It is also the last town to pass through before taking the Cajon Pass to reach Hesperia, California. The area is just outside the boundaries of the San Bernardino National Forest; nearby cities/town centers include Verdemont, University Hills, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, and Rialto. Glen Helen Pavilion/Amphitheater, the largest amphitheater in North America, is located just south of Devore. Devore is completely within the city's 92407 ZIP Code and is within the 909 area code as well. Devore is served by the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Devore is home to Kimbark Elementary, a 2016 California Gold Ribbon School. While no middle or high schools are located within the neighborhood, the nearby neighborhoods of Verdemont and University Hills hold a middle school and high school, respectively.

In 1997, there were large protests outside of the festival to cancel Marilyn Manson's performance. However, no dates were cancelled. There were also protests of a similar nature in 2001, following the Columbine High School massacre, which some groups had blamed on Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson (band) American rock band

Marilyn Manson is an American rock band formed by namesake lead singer Marilyn Manson and guitarist Daisy Berkowitz in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1989. Originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids, they gained a local cult following in South Florida in the early 1990s with their theatrical live performances. In 1993, they were the first act signed to Trent Reznor's Nothing Records label. Until 1996, the name of each member was created by combining the first name of a female sex symbol and the last name of a serial killer, for example Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. Their lineup has changed between many of their album releases; the current members of Marilyn Manson are the eponymous lead singer.

Columbine High School massacre School shooting in Columbine, Colorado, United States

The Columbine High School massacre was a school shooting and attempted bombing that occurred on April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado, United States. The perpetrators, twelfth grade (senior) students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and one teacher. Ten students were killed in the school library, where the pair subsequently committed suicide. 21 additional people were injured with gunshots and gunfire was also exchanged with the police. Another three people were injured trying to escape the school. At the time, it was the deadliest school shooting in United States history. The crime has inspired several copycats, and "Columbine" has become a byword for a school shooting.

In 1998, Ozzfest ventured outside the United States for the first time into the United Kingdom, which featured a different line-up of bands. The festival would eventually return to the UK in 2001 [5] and 2002. [6]

The concert on 18 July 1998 at Float Rite Park was merged with Warped Tour 1998. Some 39,000 fans were at the 12-hour, six-stage, 48-band event. [7]

Warped Tour 1998

Warped Tour 1998 was the 4th edition of the Vans Warped Tour. The 34-date North American tour began on in Phoenix, Arizona, and ended August 9, 1998 in Austin, Texas. Four concerts were held in Canada, with the rest in United States locations. After the North American tour ended, Warped Tour traveled overseas for the first time, with a modified lineup appearing in Europe, Australia and Japan. The previous edition had an european leg.

2000–2006: Commercial success

In the early 2000s, artists and bands including Slipknot, Kittie, Pantera, Marilyn Manson, Mudvayne, Godsmack, Rob Zombie, Incubus, Linkin Park, [8] System of a Down, Chevelle, P.O.D., and Disturbed played the yearly music festival. [8] [9] Two compilation albums of the Ozzfest tour were released, one covering select 2001 [8] performances and another for 2002. [10]

On-stage footage of the Ozzfest 2004 tour was shown on MTV, as Ozzy and Sharon hosted a show on the network titled Battle for Ozzfest where they chose eight out of hundreds of bands to compete for a spot on the following year's Ozzfest. Ozzy selected one member from each chosen band to "tag along" on the tour. Each contestant had to complete numerous challenges to improve his/her band's chances of winning the contest. Occasionally, meetings would be held and certain contestants would be eliminated for various reasons. The person who prevailed as the winner and guaranteed his band's spot on the Ozzfest tour was Marc Serrano from metalcore act A Dozen Furies. [11]

At Iron Maiden's last Ozzfest performance, on 20 August 2005 at the Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen in San Bernardino, California, several negative events took place. During the first song, several members of the crowd, brought on by Sharon Osbourne, bombarded the British metal band Iron Maiden with eggs, bottle caps and ice after vocalist Bruce Dickinson allegedly ridiculed Ozzy's need for a teleprompter during his performances, as well as the Osbourne family's ventures into reality television ( The Osbournes , Battle for Ozzfest ). [12] During three of Iron Maiden's songs, the P.A. system was switched off, cutting power to Dickinson's microphone and then to all the band's instruments. During the concert, Bruce Dickinson can be heard accusing the festival's organizers of deliberately cutting off the band's power. On Iron Maiden's departure, Sharon Osbourne came on stage to make a few statements, telling the audience that she "absolutely loved Iron Maiden" but thought that Dickinson is a "prick." [13] Rod Smallwood, manager for Iron Maiden, issued a statement shortly after the debacle condemning the attack on the band. [14] On a later Howard Stern Show, [15] In 2006, Bruce Dickinson commented, "Did I have a go at Ozzy and Black Sabbath? No. Why would I? But I do find The Osbournes TV series loathsome, and the whole cult of reality TV celebrities disgusting." [16] In response to claims that he had apologised to Ozzy for Dickinson's behaviour, Steve Harris stated "No I didn't [apologise]. What I actually said was that, if there was anything to apologise for, then I'd do it. But that was twisted around to seem like I'd said sorry – that never happened!" [16]


On 7 February 2007, it was announced that tickets to Ozzfest 2007 would be offered free of charge, dubbing the 2007 Ozzfest as "free fest." [17] Tickets were made available through sponsor websites, the Ozzfest web site and to those buying an advance copy of Ozzy Osbourne's new release, Black Rain .

Sponsorship money provided the revenue for the tour, but organizers did not pay any of the bands appearing. Ozzy Osbourne returned to the headlining slot on the tour after being absent from the 2006 tour. Ozzfest 2007 featured well-established acts such as Lamb of God, Static X, and Hatebreed.

There were problems with distribution of the free tickets. Fans were given codes to receive tickets through the official Ozzfest website, but due to the heavy load on Live Nation's secure servers, there were issues with ticket redemption. Another problem was that many "eBay scalpers" charged fans to pay for the free tickets, often turning out to be unusable duplicates of other tickets. [18] Then, on 26 July, Ozzfest gave away free tickets without requiring its "redemption code" previously required. [19]

At the show of 16 August 2007 in Holmdel, New Jersey at the PNC Bank Arts Center, controversy was generated as 83 attendees were arrested at the show, most of them underage and arrested prior to 8:00. In addition, two men died, one after overdosing on alcohol and energy drinks. [20]

Questions over whether the event would be held in 2008 began when in April that year Ozzy Osbourne announced that he would be headlining the Canadian Monsters of Rock festival. [21] The 2008 version of the festival took place for only one date at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on 9 August 2008. The line-up featured Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne as the headliner bands, as well as other acts such as Jonathan Davis (frontman of Korn), Sevendust, DevilDriver, Serj Tankian (frontman of System of a Down), Cavalera Conspiracy, Shadows Fall, Apocalyptica and In This Moment. [22] [23] Along with the two main stages was a third, named the Texas Stage, which, according to Sharon Osbourne, featured such Texas-based bands as The Sword, Drowning Pool, Goatwhore, Soilent Green and Rigor Mortis. [24] [25]

The Canadian Version of "The Monsters of Rock" was held exclusively on 26 July 2008 at the McMahon Stadium located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was also scheduled as a "one time only" event. The main attraction for the festival of heavy metal and mayhem were metal giants Judas Priest and the headliner, Ozzy Osbourne. In addition, various other "big league" heavy metal outfits attended the festivities. The following bands preceded the two main attractions: Serj Tankian, Hatebreed, Cavalera Conspiracy (featuring current frontman of Soulfly,and former frontman of Sepultura, Max Cavalera), Shadows Fall, Canadian metal unit Voivod, Testament, 3 Inches of Blood, Priestess, Zimmers Hole, and Dillinger Escape Plan.


Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Halford, DevilDriver, Nonpoint

Black Label Society (Cancelled in Mansfield & Camden and Bristow due to inclement weather.), Drowning Pool (Cancelled in Mansfield due to inclement weather.), Kingdom of Sorrow (NOTE: Exodus played instead on the San Bernardino date), Goatwhore (canceled on the Hartford date due to a medical emergency with their bassist), Skeletonwitch, Saviours, Kataklysm (Cancelled in Mansfield due to inclement weather.), California Wildebeest (San Bernardino date only), Immune (San Bernardino date only). The guitar prodigy Yuto Miyazawa was invited by Ozzy to play "Crazy Train" at the event.


On 19 October 2012, it was announced that Ozzfest will be revived on 11–12 May 2013 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan; this was the first time the festival took place in that country. [27] [28] Acts confirmed for the Ozzfest Japan include Slipknot, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, Deftones, Black Sabbath, Tool and Stone Sour. [29] [30]


Tokyo, Japan. This will be the second time the festival has taken place in the country. Acts confirmed for Ozzfest Japan include Ozzy and Friends, Korn, Evanescence, Jane's Addiction, Bullet for My Valentine, A Day to Remember, Hatebreed, Black Label Society, Corey Taylor, Crossfaith, and Babymetal.

Originally, Black Sabbath was announced, but it was cancelled and replaced by Ozzy and Friends. Geezer Butler, Tom Morello, Dave Navarro, Zakk Wylde, and Funassyi are going to appear as guests of Ozzy and Friends. Of Mice and Men was once announced, but cancelled due to surgery of Austin Carlile.


In 2016, Ozzfest joined with Knotfest and on September 24th and 25th, 2016, "Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2016" was held in San Bernardino, California, at the San Manuel Amphitheater.


The 2017 Ozzfest was held again in conjunction with Knotfest, under the title "Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2017" on November 4th & 5th, 2017 in San Bernardino, California, at the Glen Helen Amphitheater.


The 2018 Ozzfest was held at The Forum in Inglewood, California on December 31st, 2018. The event was hosted by Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie, Jonathan Davis of Korn, and Body Count. And on the 2nd stage, Zakk Wylde's Black Sabbath tribute band Zakk Sabbath took the stage along with DevilDriver and Wednesday 13 of Murderdolls. [31]

See also

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