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Ozzy and Sharon introduce ''FreeFest''

Fed up with escalating prices, Ozzy and Sharon say they are lending a hand to their young fans by chucking admission costs for this summer’s Ozzfest

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John Shearer/WireImage.com

As reported by EW.com yesterday, Ozzfest 2007 is going freebie, with tickets available at no cost through sponsors’ Web sites (more info will be made available before the July 7 tour launch). We grabbed Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne at the Ozzfest press conference on Tuesday and asked them a bit about their plan.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Does this have to do with the rising cost of ticket prices?
OZZY OSBOURNE: It’s the rising cost of everything.
SHARON OSBOURNE: Yes, fuel — you know how much fuel it takes for us to take this tour across the country with all the trucks and buses? I mean everything goes up, including the artists. Every year they want more and more and more, and God bless them — it’s fantastic, but we just can’t go there anymore. And as Ozzy said, you’ve got to stop it somewhere, so we’re stopping it now.
OZZY: It’s going to outprice itself, and people with all the technology now can just log in and see [any music] they want. The point being, every time I traveled on Sunset, I used to see Tower Records, and now it’s gone. I’m like, wow.
SHARON: It’s a new world of music out there, and you know times are changing, and as far as the recording side of the industry goes, it’s gone under such huge changes it will never go back to what it was. And the thing is, I think that a lot of fans and a lot of managers out there don’t realize that the live part of this industry is changing too, and you have to change with it.

Do you guys remember how much tickets cost back when Ozzy was starting out?
SHARON: Oh Jesus.
OZZY: About 3 dollars.
SHARON: For four bucks you could go see a show. So it went from $4 to $400, and some people charge more than that. But for our genre, you’ve got to remember that Ozzy’s audience is a lot younger and they can’t afford it. And look, I’m not saying this is for everyone, but for a summer music festival that goes across America, I think it will work just great. And if you do it right with the right sponsors, it will perpetuate. Everybody will get what they want, everybody will get noticed, everybody will be able to play in front of a large audience, sell more music, spread the word of their band, and that’s what it’s about.

Do you anticipate resistance from certain bands to play for free? I know I asked you earlier and you couldn’t reveal names, but how do you think managers and artists will respond when you ask them to play for free?
SHARON: Well, I hope they get in the real world. I don’t think I’m gonna get AC/DC up there for free. We know that and God bless them — why should they? But I think that you are going to get some people who want to give back to their fans and say, ”Yeah, you know what? This is one day out of my life. I’m gonna go there and gonna play to 30 to 40,000 people.” In L.A. you can play to 50 to 60,000 people — why not do that? Be part of an event. It’s not always about the money. This music scene is moving so quickly with the technology today that a lot of bands and managers aren’t keeping up with it. It’s a whole new world out there.
OZZY: I don’t go out of my house to record anymore. I’ve got Pro Tools at home. I’ve just done a new album — it sounds amazing!
SHARON: And you know, the kids are going to download, get it for free, and come to a concert for free.
OZZY: Not the album?
SHARON: Oh, they will.