Permission has been refused for two out of five upcoming Garth Brooks gigs – and the star has reportedly stated he wants to play all five, or none at all.
Brooks was due to play from July 25 until 29, but a decision has been taken by Dublin City Council to cut this down to limit disruption to the residential neighbourhoods surrounding the venue.
Late this evening, broadcaster RTE was quoting Brooks himself as saying “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”.
Many Garth Brooks fans will last night have been left in dismay after permission was refused for two of his five Dublin gigs.
The country music star was due to play at Croke Park stadium, on the city’s north side, from Friday, July 25 until Tuesday, July 29.
However, only the Friday, Saturday and Sunday gigs have been given permission by the city council, on the grounds that it would “minimise disruption to the neighbourhood in which the concerts are to take place”.
Back in February, a spokesman for Aiken Promotions said that all 400,000 tickets for the five dates had been sold out.
However, organisers still needed to obtain council permission to stage the events, and many locals had voiced opposition and threatened legal action amid fears it could heavily disrupt the lives of residents.
The council’s ruling today cannot be directly appealed, but may be open to challenge in the courts.
There were suggestions that the cancelled gigs could be switched to the Irish capital’s Aviva stadium, but this is not thought to be feasible because of the sheer amount of equipment that would have to be moved.
Several other regional stadiums have thrown their hat in the ring for any alternative plans.
But what the actual outcome will be was unknown last night (see below).
Junior Trade Minister Joe Costello supported the controversial decision to restrict the concerts.
“It is good news for the local community that permission has been refused for two of the proposed Garth Brooks concerts,” he said.
“Holding concerts for five nights in a row would have been unprecedented, and it would have caused intolerable disruption to the local residents.”
But Dublin Chamber of Commerce described the resulting fall-out as a fiasco which could cost the capital city tens of millions of euro.
“Ireland is known worldwide as a place that can stage world class events but the uncertainty around the Garth Brooks concerts threatens that reputation,” said Dublin Chamber chief executive Gina Quin.
The State’s National Consumer Council has insisted fans are due their money back where a concert is cancelled while Irish Rail has vowed to fully refund everyone who bought tickets for specially laid-on services which will have to be axed.
Brooks’s career saw him named the Number One selling solo artist in US history, selling over 128 million albums. He stopped touring to raise his family in Oklahoma 13 years ago, and his comeback sent ripples throughout his worldwide fanbase.
The News Letter had asked Aiken Promotions whether fans would be getting their money back, be getting compensation, and whether those two gigs could be moved elsewhere.
It was also asked why so many tickets had been sold when no licences had been secured for the dates.
Its PR representative sent out a short statement, reading: “We are very disappointed that Dublin City Council did not grant a licence for all of the five Garth Brooks concerts at Croke Park.
“We will issue a further statement in due course.”
At time of writing last night, nothing else had been received.
Dublin City Council issued a sizeable statement explaining its reasons online last night, saying that more than 370 members of the public had written to them about the application for the gigs, which it had received in April.
The council said that it recognised “both Croke Park Stadium and Aiken Promotions (Ireland) promote and operate well organised and safe events and that these events make a significant contribution to the economy of Dublin”.
But added that “licensing five shows in a row, three of them on weekdays, would lead to an unacceptable level of disruption to their lives/livelihoods over an unprecedented and prolonged period caused by concert-related noise, access restrictions, traffic disruption, illegal parking and potential antisocial behaviour”.
It said it was also worried about what kind of precedent it would set if they allowed a run of huge gigs for five straight nights.
The GAA, which is based at Croke Park, issued a statement noting the council’s decision, but said: “We will fully assess the implications of today’s announcement and will make no further comment before Monday next, July 7”.