‘Still a bit of hope’ for Brooks gigs green light

Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks

The promoter behind the five Garth Brooks gigs at Croke Park has said that anxious punters should not have to hold their breath much longer.

Peter Aiken, from Aiken Promotions, believes that there will be an announcement today or tomorrow on what is to happen next, as uncertainty hovered over all of the concerts – due to take place in less than three weeks.

Only the July 25, 26 and 27 gigs have been permitted at Croke Park, while Dublin City Council turned down the July 28 and 29 performances because of fears about the effect it would have on the surrounding area.

Mr Aiken, speaking on Saturday to RTE, said: “The concerts aren’t cancelled, but there’s still a bit of hope. We are still working behind the scenes, both ourselves and Croke Park, and I think that a final decision will have to be made Monday or Tuesday.”

He added: “I was under the belief I would get a licence with some heavy conditions maybe associated with it about finishing times and things like that, and level of stewarding.

“But through the whole process when we started this here, I never, ever got an inkling this was going to happen.”

Asked whether Mr Brooks may change his mind over his pledge to play either all five gigs or none at all, Mr Aiken said: “I don’t think he’ll back down.”

The promoter also said that much of the stage paraphernalia was being “custom-made for Croke Park” – undermining the much-vaunted idea that the concerts could be shifted to a different venue.

A ship had already left the USA, and they were due to start setting up the gig on 
July 12.

Mr Aiken said that the star himself would stand to lose millions if the gigs do not go ahead, and that a film crew had already been commissioned to film all five gigs.

Meanwhile, a suggestion that the gigs could be moved to Belfast’s Stormont Estate was made in one Sunday newspaper yesterday.

It quoted a source close to the SDLP as saying that councillors had approached officers in City Hall to ask about whether, in the event that Dublin is unable to host the gigs, the grounds of Parliament Buildings could do it instead, on the basis that no licence would be required.

However the UUP’s Jim Rodgers, the longest-serving councillor in the city and a member of the council’s licensing committee, said: “I don’t believe it. I think maybe some people are putting rumours about. I personally haven’t heard of that one, and my ears are normally fairly close to the ground.”

However, he said that in the future, encouraging such gigantic acts to come north of the border is exactly the kind of thing the Province should be doing.