It's been rumored for months that this summer's Ozzfest would be its namesake's last — and on Friday, Ozzy Osbourne announced that he is retiring as the headliner of the annual heavy metal festival. However, the singer is expected to finish this summer's tour and plans to make occasional appearances at future Ozzfests.
"After 10 years, the Ozzfest's name and reputation have been established," he said in a statement. "It's time for me to move on and do other things." His publicist noted in a statement, "Ozzfest will carry on in 2006, however Ozzy will limit his performances to only a few, select cities."
Osbourne, who's been performing with Black Sabbath this summer as the tour's headliner, has been dogged by throat problems, which have forced the band to drop off of the bill on several recent dates (see "Ozzfest Date Postponed Due To Osbourne's Throat Trouble").
The August 7 concert — which had been slated for Somerset, Wisconsin's Float Rite Park Amphitheatre — was postponed until September 10 in an effort to give Osbourne time to rest his strained vocal chords; it will be the last date of this summer's trek. Sabbath have canceled three Ozzfest appearances so far this year — shows on July 27 in Holmdel, New Jersey, July 31 in Noblesville, Indiana and August 2 in Columbus, Ohio — as a direct result of Ozzy's stressed voice. Ticketholders for all three dates were offered full refunds, while co-headliners Iron Maiden were called upon to extend their set.
A review of Thursday's Ozzfest concert in Friday's (August 12) issue of the Tacoma, Washington, News Tribune provides an account of Osbourne's voice failing during "Dirty Women."
"Osbourne's voice cracked hideously during that number, and he responded by slamming his mike down and storming offstage," the review reads. "The rest of Sabbath remained cool and professional, continuing to jam until Ozzy could pull it together and return. The singer forced a grin that looked more like a grimace as he led the crowd in waving their hands side to side. He explained himself once the number had ended. 'My voice is ... blown out again,' he said, promising to go on if the crowd wanted to hear him."
No official explanation has been given for Osbourne's throat problems, and it is unknown how severe they may be.