by TAMMY MARSHALL & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he metallic mayhem of Ozzfest 2007 launches today at the White River Amphitheatre in Seattle followed by a show at the Gorge on Saturday. The mosh pit may smell a little sweeter than usual this year because the sugar-loaded, caffeinated drink Monster footed part of the bill -- and tickets are free. Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne made the tour free this year due to such outlandish ticket prices at past concerts that lot of fans were unable to attend. They're calling it "Freefest" -- and when the news first broke, fans started shrieking the obvious question: "How do I get tickets?"
Ozzy super-fan and Spokane native Gina Duplain, who has attended Ozzy concerts since 1986, says she had no problem getting tickets for both the White River and Gorge shows.
Tickets could be obtained from either going to www.livenation.com/ozzfest or by buying a specially marked four-pack of Monster energy drink or Ozzy's new CD, Black Rain. There you got a code to type in at the LiveNation site or at monsterenergy.com, allowing you to download tickets that could then be printed. A barcode on the top and bottom of each ticket was designed to keep away counterfeiters.
When tickets became available for download on June 12, Duplain and a concert-going companion each bought a copy of Ozzy's new CD and spent about two hours typing the codes into the frenzied Website and printing off tickets.
"I think the concept of it is really cool, but it's made the concert smaller and it has less mainstream bands. Lots of the bands playing are from Europe," Duplain says. "The only thing I'm worried about is that camping is going to be more expensive."
According to the Gorge Amphitheatre, however, camping prices will remain the same: $40-$60 per car.
Scam artists reportedly have been taking advantage of procrastinating rockers who missed out on the free tickets by selling easy-to-make ticket copies on craigslist.com or eBay for $20 to $50. Ozzfest.com displays a big warning, however: The codes printed on the tickets can only be used once and will go to the first person who gets in. Anyone else with that same code will get turned away.
At Ozzy-related Websites, fans state how thankful they are for a free concert while complaining that the bands scheduled to perform just aren't as good as in previous years. (Bands in past Ozzfests have charged upwards of $325,000.) This year, however -- required to play for free, and expected to earn their money by selling CDs and merchandise -- top bands have bailed on the tour. Besides Ozzy, those playing this year include Lamb of God, Mondo Generator and Hatebreed.
While requiring bands to play for free, companies like Monster, FYE, WWE and Sirius Radio are helping out by sponsoring the tour. Since advertising is the only money behind the event, fans on Ozzy's site are wondering how much advertising they will be bombarded with -- and whether there will be a hike in the price of merch.
Duplain, who's been a fan since she was 11 years old, isn't deterred by any of the controversy. She's looking forward to attending the first two dates of the tour. "Ozzy rules," she says.
Ozzfest at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash., on Saturday, July 14 * Some tickets still available; visit www.monsterenergy.com and www.ozzfest.com.