NEW YORK (AP) - When the wife of heavy metal god Ozzy Osbourne
came up with the idea of a tour featuring the heavy hitters of metal and hard rock, the reaction from the concert industry was lukewarm, at best. "In my gut feeling, I felt that it would definitely work, because there was a huge void in the marketplace for it," Sharon Osbourne recalled. "Not a lot of people in the market agreed with me at the time." Certainly, no one can disagree with her now. Ozzfest, now in its sixth year, has consistently ranked as one of the top concert draws of the year, thanks to a lineup that this year features Ozzy Osbourne's own Black
Sabbath, Marilyn Manson, Crazy Town, and best new artist Grammy nominee Papa Roach. The tour kicked off June 29 in Chicago
and will end Aug. 12 in Holmdel, N.J.
Gary Bongiovanni of Pollstar, a concert industry trade publication, noted that many multi-act music festivals, such as Lillith Fair or Lollapalooza, faded away after several years. Ozzfest is still be going strong, however. Last year, Ozzfest drew some 19,000 per show, said Bongiovanni said. This year, it's averaging about 18,000. "The appeal is to largely teen-agers; the male teen-age demographic is one of the most active when it comes to concerts," he said. Ozzfest started in 1996, just around the time Lollapalooza, the summer alternative rock festival that featured such platinum acts as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was at its peak. Even after a successful debut year, Ozzfest still had its skeptics.