“It was a very weird beast because all the bands were our mates, but the managers were greedy": Sharon Osbourne reveals why we can't have Ozzfest any more

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne
(Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Sharon Osbourne has revealed that the reason we can't have Ozzfest any more is because the festival is no longer cost-effective to stage... due to the greed of her fellow managers. 

The hugely successful metal festival, headlined by either Black Sabbath or Ozzy Osbourne himself, is the topic of conversation on the latest Osbourne family podcast. And when the topic is introduced by Jack Osbourne, his father immediately asks, "Are we ever going to do another Ozzfest?"

"That is a great question," Jack replies, then adds, "That is more of a question for you good sir."

Created after Lollapalooza festival laughed off the idea of Osbourne headlining their event, the first Ozzfest was staged in October 1996, as a two-day festival held in Phoenix, Arizona, and Devore, California, with Ozzy joined by Slayer, Danzig, Biohazard, Sepultura, Fear Factory and more. From this modest beginning, the festival became a proper touring event in America, with the UK getting its own Ozzfest event in 1998, with a bill featuring both Ozzy and Sabbath. The last Ozzfest was staged on just one day, New Year's Eve 2018, at The Forum in Los Angeles, with Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson among the supporting cast. This show was also Ozzy Osbourne's last full performance.

On the new podcast episode, Ozzy mentions that greed played a role in the event going on hiatus.

"Yeah, it was a very weird beast," Sharon Osbourne says, "because all the bands were our mates, but the managers were greedy, and for some reason they thought that we were making billions on it and we weren’t.

"We made a profit. But it was not like – we couldn’t retire on it. And managers and agents wanted more and more and more, and it just wasn’t cost-effective anymore. We stopped because it just wasn’t cost-effective."

Ozzy then says that his wife and manager's workload organising the event was "fucking insane."

As an example of the hassles that could arise, Sharon Osbourne explains, "Years and years ago, one of the bands – it was the second Ozzfest we did, or the third – wouldn’t go on stage until I agreed to give them 10,000 more dollars. And they were holding everything up, and I said, Of course, of course I’ll give it you."

The band is then revealed to have been Danzig, and Mrs O reveals that she never paid them the extra money, and simply responded, "Fuck you."

As to whether Ozzfest will reappear, no-one in the family wanted to commit to a definitive answer, although Ozzy does propose the idea that the festival could continue without him.

Watch the episode in full below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.