Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Crisis talks in bid to save Garth Brooks concerts

Garth Brooks' gigs are in  the balance
Garth Brooks' gigs are in the balance

The Northern Ireland promoter of the series of concerts by country superstar Garth Brooks in Dublin has said that moving dates or venues is not an option.

Dublin City Council has refused to bow to pressure to grant permission for all five of the shows, raising fears over the future of the three concerts which were given the green light.

Promoter Peter Aiken said last night that he is holding crisis meetings over the weekend.

In a strongly worded statement last night, the council moved to defend its decision to refuse permission for two of the country singers concerts in Croke Park at the end of the month and appeared to quash any hopes that it will do a u-turn on its decision.

"It should be noted that event licence decisions made under the Planning & Development Acts cannot be amended or appealed," the council's statement read last night.

It comes after Garth Brooks stated that it was "five shows or none at all". Thousands of fans from Northern Ireland had already planned their trips to Dublin for the shows with many having laid out hundreds of pounds for tickets, transport and accommodation.

As other potential venues, insuggested they might be able to accommodate the country music legend, Mr Aiken ruled out relocating because of the massive logistics involved.

He admitted the countdown was on and he must now "make a decision very quickly on what is going to happen".

A cargo ship carrying 18 trucks with the customised equipment and staging – which Brooks helped select through snapping photographs of precisely where he wanted the stage to be set in Croke Park – departed from the States on July 1 and is already en route to Ireland.

For those dedicated fans watching and waiting, Mr Aiken said ahead of this weekend's crisis meetings he is clinging to "a little bit of hope".

But he insisted that changing the dates would also not be an option due to the 17,500 international fans who are due to arrive in Dublin.

"You just couldn't move it, the sheer scale of this show couldn't be moved. I can't see any way around it," the businessman said.

He also defended Brooks' comment that it was "five shows or none at all".

"He doesn't see it as five (nights), he sees it as the comeback event, he sees the movie. It's an event, it's a whole lot of things," explained the promoter.

Mr Aiken insisted that he was "completely blindsided" by DCC's decision to refuse permission for two of the dates, and said that he or his staff had never had any indication that there would be an issue with the license.

Story so far

Thousands of country music fans have been left in turmoil after Dublin City Council refused permission for two of five Garth Brooks concerts at Crike Park after residents objected.

The situation was further complicated when the performer said it was "all or nothing", leaving all ticketholders uncertain about whether there would be any concerts.

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