Tour Costly for Unknown Bands, but it’s Paying Off

News of the free-ticket deal hit the industry like a mosh pit sucker punch. Some critics said it was a desperate move intended to keep the tour going without paying top bands top money. In past years, Ozzy has sparked sellouts by reuniting with Black Sabbath or sharing the main stage with Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson and System of a Down. Meanwhile, insiders say side-stage acts have had to pay as much as $75,000 to be on the tour, money written off by labels as a promotional expense. . .

But when it came time to book this year’s tour, insiders say Ozzfest organizers were unable to pull together a bill that made financial sense. The solution? Free tickets, increased corporate sponsorship and a bill heavy on low-priced up-and-comers.

“The problem when you’re dealing with multi-act shows is if you have to pay all those artists their normal fees,” Bongiovanni said. “They basically took a look at the situation and came up with this.”

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What they came up with is a diverse bill topped by Connecticut hardcore legends Hatebreed and Lamb of God, one of the best current metal bands but one not yet in the position to demand huge fees. Bolstering the lineup are two corpse-painted foreign acts (Taiwan’s Cthonic and Poland’s Behemoth), old school-style thrashers the Showdown and 3 Inches of Blood, monstrous Finnish stars Lordi and the lone female-fronted act, In This Moment.

“At first I was really skeptical,” said Maria Ferrero of New Jersey PR powerhouse Adrenaline. “But when I went to the very first show in Seattle, I got it. I said, ‘This is the future of metal.’ It’s Sharon being brilliant again.”

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