With Ozzy Osbourne taking most of the summer off from his namesake festival, the Ozzfest faction needed to reel in a huge fish to help lure the metal-craving masses for an 11th straight year. But rather than summon one imposing heavyweight, Sharon Osbourne’s gone and recruited two headliner-worthy mammoths to lead this year’s ear-splitting cavalcade.
System of a Down and Disturbed have been lined up to anchor the entire festival, with Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, Atreyu, Unearth, Norma Jean and Bleeding Through leading the charge on the second stage. The 21-city circus of debauchery will kick off July 1 in San Francisco; additional dates will be announced in the coming weeks. The Ozzfest faction will be beefing up the bill come May 23, when the name of the festival’s final mainstage addition will be revealed — a secret that’s being closely guarded.
Ozzy announced last summer, toward the tail end of Ozzfest 2005, that he wouldn’t be returning for the 2006 installment (see “Ozzy Retires As Ozzfest Headliner: ‘It’s Time For Me To Move On’ “ ). Still, Ozzy will pop up on 10 still-to-be-determined dates this year.
“After 10 years, I feel it’s time to let someone else share the headlining spotlight,” Ozzy said in a press statement. “We want to shake it up a bit this year. I’ve closed virtually every Ozzfest performance for a decade now, and I feel I can finally let other artists headline our festival, and that’s my intention for the future.”
System’s headlining slot marks the band’s fourth stint on Ozzfest. They were one of the featured second-stage acts in 1998, and then graduated to the main stage in 1999 and 2002. Disturbed are another Ozzfest three-timer, having been part of the lineup in 2000, 2001 and 2003.
Hatebreed have been called up to the mainstage after second-stage slots in 2001, 2002 and 2004. The same is true of Lacuna Coil, who return to Ozzfest after a stint on the second stage in 2004.
There will be a number of familiar faces topping the second stage’s roster, including six-time Ozzfest vets Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, who performed as part of the mainstage lineup last summer. Atreyu, Unearth and Bleeding Through, who were on the bill in 2004, have all been tapped for the second stage and will be joined by Norma Jean, Strapping Young Lad, Walls of Jericho, the Red Chord, All That Remains, Full Blown Chaos, Between the Buried and Me and A Life Once Lost.
“You can’t be a metal band and not be psyched to be on Ozzfest,” said All That Remains frontman Phil Labonte, “especially when you are as aggressive and heavy as us, since we’re not really very radio-friendly. We want to be the biggest band we can be, but let’s face it, we’re also an extreme band. So we’re really pumped to be on Ozzfest and excited to be a part of something so big for extreme metal. If the people who show up dig us, awesome. Otherwise, we’re just excited to be a part of it.”
Unearth guitarist Ken Susi called it “an honor to be one of the support acts on the second stage at this year’s Ozzfest. I feel like it’s part of a great tradition. The fact that we’re on it means a lot to me. It’s a tradition that’s being carried for good bands. We’re fortunate and very lucky to be part of that.”
“As we head into our 11th year, Ozzfest remains committed to its original vision of sharing this vibrant music and lifestyle that was and is still overlooked by the mainstream media,” tour co-founder Sharon Osbourne said. “It’s something real that our audience understands — and demands — and their undying support for this music is the reason for Ozzfest’s continued success.
“Ozzfest has thrived because of repeat business,” she continued. “Fans of this music know firsthand that Ozzfest offers them a full day of music. We give them a chance to see the best of the new bands on the second stage to the legends of the genre on the main stage. It’s the only place to see all of these bands on one show.”
Ozzfest dates, according to the tour’s publicist:
- 7/1 – San Francisco, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheater
- 7/2 – Sacramento, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheater
- 7/7 – Phoenix, AZ @ Cricket Pavilion
- 7/8 – San Bernardino, CA @ Hyundai Pavilion
- 7/14 – Kansas City, KS @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
- 7/15 – St. Louis, MO @ UMB Bank Pavilion
- 7/16 – Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
- 7/19 – Detroit, MI @ DTE Music Energy Center
- 7/21 – Columbus, OH @ Germain Amphitheatre
- 7/22 – East Troy, WI @ Alpine Valley Music Theatre
- 7/23 – Indianapolis, IN @ Verizon Wireless Music Center
- 7/26 – Scranton, PA @ Toyota Pavilion
- 7/27 – Buffalo, NY @ Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
- 7/29 – New York, NY @ Randall’s Island
- 7/30 – Hartford, CT @ New England Dodge Music Center
- 8/1 – Boston, MA @ Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts
- 8/4 – Camden, NJ @ Tweeter Center at the Waterfront
- 8/5 – Bristow, VA @ Nissan Pavilion
- 8/6 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Verizon Virginia Beach
- 8/9 – Raleigh, NC @ Alltel Pavilion
- 8/13 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Sound Advice Amphitheatre
[This story was originally published at 5:42 pm E.T. on 03.09.2005]