Ozzfest to invade Tel Aviv

Pop culture legend Ozzy Osbourne is bringing his rock & roll mayhem to Israel for the first time.

ozzy osbourne 311 (photo credit: Bill Kostroun/AP)
ozzy osbourne 311
(photo credit: Bill Kostroun/AP)
Are bats kosher? Ozzy Osbourne, the godfather of heavy metal excess, is going to descend on Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park on September 28, promoter Shuki Weiss announced Wednesday.
For Israel’s first Ozzfest, Osbourne’s long-running multi-band metal festival that he launched decades ago, the former lead singer of hard rock pioneers Black Sabbath will headline with his band, and be joined by popular American head bangers Korn and several local artists who have not yet been named.
During a brief pre-recorded video message screened for reporters in Tel Aviv, Wednesday at Weiss’s office, the 61- year-old Osbourne loudly expressed his greetings to Israel and his excitement to be bringing Ozzfest to Tel Aviv, marking his first visit to the country during his successful five decade career.
Sharon Osbourne, Ozzy’s wife and personal manager, spoke via a video-conference call to reassure Israeli fans that there would be no last-minute cancellations due to any potential boycott pressures.
Sharon said that she had not received any threats prior to the announcement of the show, though despite the potential, she stressed that they wouldn’t be afraid and Ozzy would not back down.
“Music goes beyond politics because it is the international language of the world. Ozzy and I have a history of not getting involved with politics,“ said Sharon. “I could not be more excited or proud about bringing Ozzfest to Israel for the first time.”
Weiss recently faced a double whammy when three of the featured acts on his June Picnic Festival – the Pixies, Klaxon and Gorillaz Sound System – all canceled following the Gaza Flotilla incident.
He was, however, confident that the Ozzfest would go ahead as planned.
“Today, bands do not realize the effect that their cancellation has on their fans in Israel,” he said. “I personally stress to the bands that it is much more effective to say what you want to say on stage rather than backing out of the show full of all of your fans.”
Sharon also promised that Osbourne, despite various physical ailments and aging issues well-documented on the highly popular MTV reality show The Osbournes, would deliver “an unbelievable performance.”
Osbourne recently released his first album in three years and his tenth studio album – Scream.
Ozzy’s impact on the musical world is, “immeasurable and despite his global success, Ozzy still doesn’t realize the impact his music has on people,” Sharon said.
Sharon, whose father – promoter and rock and roll entrepreneur Don Arden – was Jewish, announced that she and Osbourne would also be bringing celebrity children – Kelly and Jack – with them to Israel.
They plan on traveling throughout the country prior to the concert, including a stop at the Western Wall, making them the most famous American family to visit the Jewish holy site since The Simpsons animatedly arrived earlier this year.
For two weeks beginning Thursday, tickets will be on sale for a discounted price of NIS 325.
After July 22, the price of admission will jump to NIS 425. Additionally, VIP tickets will also be on sale for NIS 1,100 NIS each which will include personal seating, luxury accommodations on site, parking and an official Ozzfest T-shirt.
David Brinn contributed to this report.