Could Ozzfest be going the way of Lollapalooza? It certainly looks that way. It has been twelve years since the extreme extravaganza known as Ozzfest burst onto the festival circuit and for the last several, it has been hemorrhaging money. Top acts have wanted more and more money to perform on the main stage, while the second stage became more of a promotional tool for smaller bands looking to promote their new album instead of a place for emerging artists to showcase their sound. Long gone are the days of the 2nd stage breaking acts like Limp Bizkit and Slipknot.
In recent years, the main stage has become filled with predictable acts from the hard rock and metal scene. Last years surprise announcement of Static-x did nothing boost the tours profile. Not since 2005 has the tour provided fans with a worthy support act for the aging Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. 2006 and 2007's incarnation of Ozzfest lacked a true headliner. Classic metal bands like Slayer, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth are the shot of adrenaline this tour desperately needs to kickstart it's slowing heart. Thank God for this years support act. Metallica has been added on as Ozzy's support, but the dying beast might be too far in the grave to be resuscitated.
Could it be time to let Ozzy take a back seat from the tour? It looked that way in 2006 when The Ozzman took over second stage duties, but by 2007, he was back headlining the main stage. In recent years, his voice didn't hold up as well and his stage presence has been called into question. Metallica possesses that formidable aura that Ozzy lacks, much like Iron Maiden did in 2005 and Judas Priest and Slayer in 2004.
Can Metallica save the day? Only time will tell. They have been playing a lot of old material lately which is key for both young and old fans alike. The band also has a new album coming out, the first in over 5 years, and they have been generating a lot of attention again. Can you recall the last time Metallica had trouble filling a stadium? Didn't think so.
Competition in this years metal tour market has become fierce lately. Tours like Gigantour, Sounds of the Underground, Taste of Chaos, and this years newest entry, Mayhem Festival compete for the fans limited income. These tours take away from the pool of bands that Ozzfest was once able to draw from.
Ozzfest might be down, but there are still signs of life. It still has the biggest and most name recognition around. Sharon Osbourne can still hold press conferences and get the major mainstream media to attend. Tour organizers need to go back to the formula that works, putting great bands on the stage that people want to hear, not the bands that tour promoters will make the most money from.