All five shows for “The Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event” at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland set for July 25th through 29th are now “up in the air.”
After the Dublin City Council denied licenses for two of the five shows on Thursday, Brooks released the following statement Thursday (July 3rd) night via his public relations company:
“I can’t thank the people of Ireland enough for how welcome they have made me feel.
“I have faith that Dublin City Council will make the best decision for the people of Ireland.
“For us, it is five shows or none at all.
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another.
“However this plays out, Ireland has my heart and always will.”
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another.”
Many residents living near the large outdoor concert venue have protested the concerts since February, claiming the number of concerts “goes against previous agreements [between Croke Park and the Residents Alliance of hosting two concerts per year] and will have a detrimental effect on the surrounding community for the duration of the concerts.”
The Dublin City Council ruled on Thursday morning against the final two concerts citing that “granting permission would have been unprecedented and have posed unacceptable levels of disruption to the local community” which the council states it “did not want to set a precedent for increasing the number of concerts in Croke Park” and points out that “if it allowed five Garth Brooks concerts on top of three One Direction concerts, this would have doubled the previous maximum number per year.”
It also pointed out that three of the five shows were on week nights — Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The report that promoter Aiken Promotions was looking at moving the canceled shows to a different venue has also been ruled out by owner Peter Aiken.
“It’s a massive event. The whole world was talking about it.
“Nobody thought we could sell that amount of tickets. Then he started getting excited and what started as a simple show became a monster.
“He was saying, ‘Let’s put more video screens’ or, ‘Let me come up through the stage’. People would never forget this show. It takes five shows to get it right. He doesn’t want to disappoint anyone whose bought tickets.
“I can’t turn around and say the three shows will go ahead. This is a one-off show, it won’t happen anywhere else in the world. He’s saying to me ‘give me a solution’ so I can play to these 160,000 people.”
Aiken also states that they have “followed the licensing process as laid down under the current regulations” for the gigs and that they submitted their application 14 weeks in advance of the first concert. Current regulations require a 10 week notice.
Aiken also says it’s “standard practice” to inform the licensing authority, announce the events and then put tickets on sale before submitting an application.
Many fans in support of all five shows have spoken out against the decision. These fans claim their voices weren’t heard and that a “small minority have spoken for many of the residents” even starting petitions to present to the council to reconsider allowing all five shows to go on as planned.
One petition, created by Laura Moran at change.org, states:
“This is crucial for the economy. It is estimated the 5 gigs will bring in €50million. Tourists are flying in from all over Europe and America. Hotels are filled. Shops, Restaurants will benefit hugely. 400,000 people have purchased tickets. The spotlight will be on us for hosting a once in a lifetime never to be repeated performance. If we snub it, we are the laughing stock. Our tourism will suffer. Please consider the big picture and do the right thing by allowing all 5 gigs to go ahead!”
Kieran Mulvey, who acted as mediator between protesters and promoters since March, believes all five shows should go ahead but stated a compromise should be in order.
“I would raise the possibility now whereby the five concerts could possibly go ahead and as a reciprocal gesture the [Gaelic Athletic Association] say well then they put no concerts on in 2015 as a gesture of goodwill in regard to that.
“And to mitigate those concerts that would potentially be there in 2015 so that the residents would enjoy a year of no concerts in Croke Park beyond the normal Gaelic Athletic Association events.”
Brooks is set to lose nearly $15 million from the canceled gigs as refunds will be issued for the two canceled dates. If all five dates are canceled, Brooks and promoters are set to lose more than $35 million from ticket sales and even more from merchandising opportunities lost at the venue.
The Dublin City Council are set to regroup on Friday to discuss Brooks’s statement and the affects the canceled concerts would have on the city and country’s economy. A decision is not expected to be announced before Monday (July 7th).
“Please consider the big picture and do the right thing by allowing all 5 gigs to go ahead!”
Either way, fans from around the world have something to look forward to on Monday, July 7th as the singer is set to make a huge announcement. In a cryptic message on Brooks’ website, this week he writes, “The wait is over…7/7,” leaving fans wondering if he will announce tour dates for his widely anticipated comeback world tour set for the fall, a new album, a new single or some type of combination of the three.
Music Row reports that in recent months, Brooks has been soliciting new material from Nashville songwriters for an upcoming project and All Access states that multiple dates have been put on hold in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York City, to name a few.
Check back Monday for the news as it becomes available.