Ireland is going ballistic after Garth Brooks announced he would cancel a long-anticipated five-show “Comeback Special” rather than cave to a Dublin city council ruling cutting his run short.
About 400,000 ticket holders — equivalent to nearly one-tenth of Ireland’s population — had purchased tickets to the July 25-29 dates at Dublin’s 83,000-capacity Croke Park Stadium.
But the Dublin city council approved only three dates after it received more than 300 complaints from local residents that the five-day set violated Croke Park’s code. The stadium, built in 1913, sits squarely in a residential section of Ireland.
There’d also been reports of protests.
Those complaints are being swamped by the fury coming from Brooks fans who’ve had their plans scuttled.
Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Taoiseach, or prime minister, has been forced to intervene — it emerged late Wednesday he is calling for a reconciliation between Dublin and Brooks’ promoters. He’d warned the cancellations could prove
“a shock to the system in terms of the economy of the city and the reputation of our country.”
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has put the cost of the cancellations at 50 million euros, or about $US68 million. and the Irish Mirror reported fans had spent a total of $US35.5 million on tickets, with over 200,000 hotel rooms booked for what was to be the start of a mid-summer comeback tour that would kick off in Dublin’s 83,000-capacity Croke Park Stadium later this month.
Meanwhile, the announced cancellations have blown up Irish social media.
Facebook was filled with angry fans.
Licenses for Monday and Tuesday night concerts were rejected because the city noted said five nights of concerts would be “an over intensification of use of the stadium.”
a statement saying he would only “play five shows or none at all,” explaining, “To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another.”
“The cancelation of the concerts has been a massive disappointment to the Garth Brooks fans here, and it’s also been a disaster for the city of Dublin,” Senator Power added.
The shows entailed 22 truckloads of equipment, customised video equipment, and a large set, and couldn’t be moved to another venue in Dublin.
Ireland Councillor Nial Ring tells Fox that Brooks’ decision to cancel all five shows was for the singer’s own financial reasons:
“Garth Brooks hasn’t been here in 17 years and if he loves his Irish fans then why is he pulling out of these concerts?” Ring asked. “He says it’s because he doesn’t want to disappoint some fans but quite frankly, I don’t buy that. I have no doubt that his accountants and the money people behind him had done the numbers and I believe he would have made money [from fewer shows]. Three would have been enough and the five would have been enough to pay off the national debt of Ireland.”
But a source argues to The Daily Mail:
“When Garth was told that there was going to be five dates, he decided to pump money into the production for the live shows … Every cent that he would have made from the first three nights was ploughed straight into the staging, the lighting and the rigging. He had ordered graphics and custom-built screens. It was going to be a show of a lifetime and all 400,000 fans were going to see something special.
‘This has nothing to do with greed for Garth. This has to do with a decision he made to put on a series of concerts that would have been unrivalled in the history of country music. He is not a charity and for these gigs to have made money, he would have had to play the five dates.”
Concert promoter Peter Aiken is quoted in the Daily Mail as defending Brooks for “sticking by his principles.”
“It’s the right decision. We are devastated, it was going to be the biggest musical event, there will never be another artist in my lifetime that’s going to do 400,000 tickets and I don’t know where the position is with Garth Brooks coming back to Ireland. There will be flak, you’ll take flak, I’ll take the flak but it’s the right decision. He is devastated, he’s down for millions in this deal, if it was any other artist maybe they’d say let’s play the three and recoup some money.”