The preachers of doom & morbidity gained enough mainstream recognition in the 90s to become a force on music charts. Yet nothing connects as well with audiences as live playing. More & more people are now veering off the beaten path & experimenting with the sweet intoxicating oppression of a dose of heavy death metal due to the sporadic concerts. And bringing the very crest of the genre together on a single platform is Ozzfest. The annual touring festival has become a defining blueprint for heavy metal tours & concerts with its sensational roster & interactive atmosphere offering fans a chance to imbibe the mood. Created by legendary Black Sabbath front-man & reality TV superstar Ozzy Osbourne & his wife Sharon, Ozzfest now dwarfs all other rival festivals in its genre. Since 1996, delirious fans have been rushing to grab their Ozzfest tickets for the shot of pure adrenaline that the music promises. And if 2010's bristling lineup is to live up to expectations, venues are in for scenes of utter pandemonium.
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Ozzfest entertains a number of closely related genres which have gained mainstream popularity in the previous two decades. Heavy metal, with its thickly layered massive sound, highly amplified distortion & resounding drumming is the main genre; while hard rock, alternative metal, thrash metal, industrial metal, metalcore, hardcore punk, nu metal, death metal & gothic metal also find a place on the show. The underlying melancholic theme is inspired by doom & impending annihilation, & the dark moods have got the public raving. Ozzfest was conceived by Sharon Osbourne in 1996 when her husband Ozzy was not allowed to play at Lollapalooza, one of America's three biggest music festivals, due to his "uncool" & "drugged" demeanor. The formative years did not see much mobility for the bands, with the festival confined to a two-day concert at Phoenix & Devore in 1996. Two years later, Ozzfest first expanded its horizons to include UK dates, & by the turn of the century, the upsurge in publicity was imminent. Massively popular mainstream bands took up places on the roster, & by 2004, Ozzfest had generated enough followers to warrant an MTV show, Battle for Ozzfest, where over 100 bands battled for a performing spot on the tour. The winner was Marc Serrano of the metalcore band A Dozen Furies. The tour was rife with controversy in 2005 when Iron Maiden's last performance was alleged to have been ambushed repeatedly by organizers in order to belittle the band, prompting furious reactions from band members. Amid ticketing problems & controversies over rampant drug abuse at the venues, Ozzfest took a break after 2008's one-off Dallas show. 2010 sees the tour restart with a fresh collection of metal pioneers.
Ozzfest has revolutionized the outlook of heavy metal. Whereas concerts of such bands were earlier confined to cult followers involved in head-banging in shady locales with a select audience, Ozzfest has provided a veritable platform. By the early 2000s, household names like Linkin Park, Rob Zombie, Disturbed, Slipknot, Incubus & System of a Down were playing at the venues. The expanded media exposure was perfectly tapped into by Battle for Ozzfest, & the practice of releasing compilation albums helped cultivate greater interest among music enthusiasts. By 2008, Metallica, Apocalyptica & Judas Priest had joined Ozzy Osbourne on stage to make the festival a success. In addition to that, Ozzfest has tried to inculcate a sense of tradition & make the audiences feel a bigger part of the show with the "Village of the Damned", which contains souvenirs & various collectors' items for diehard metal fans. An expanding fan base has shown immediate results.
The tour's pioneering nature saw the sale of many Ozzfest tickets for its first foreign tour in 1998. It returned to the UK in 2001 & 2002. The upcoming event also promises a whole lot of entertainment with Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Rob Halford, DevilDriver & Nonpoint sharing the Main Stage. Second stage headliners and six-time Ozzfest veterans Black Label Society will be joined by Drowning Pool, Kingdom of Sorrow, Goatwhore, Skeletonwitch, Saviours and Kataklysm on the Monster Energy Stage. The event kicks off on August 14th in San Bernardino, with concerts in London & Tel Aviv also planned.
Mad white rage often finds a channel to express itself, & for metal enthusiasts, the case is no different here. Ozzfest has transformed into a phenomenon in its own right, & Ozzfest tickets are your pass to brazen worlds of utter mayhem.
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