Belfast Telegraph

Garth Brooks: Dublin Croke Park gig cancellation was 'like losing a member of my family'

Garth Brooks has revealed he's still mourning the Croke Park concerts and compared the cancellation of the five gigs to losing a member of his family.

“I’m not trying to be dramatic, but my wife would sit here and tell you, ‘I’ve never seen him ache like that for anything other than loss of family.’ I mourned that and I still am, to tell the truth. Hurts like hell.”

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Brooks was reported to have tears in his eyes when he was talking about the concerts  and shook his head when asked about Croke Park, indicating that he couldn’t reveal the real story as to why the concerts were cancelled.

Brooks was scheduled to play five consecutive sold out dates at Croke Park. However, following complaints from residents, Dublin City Council ruled that the country star could only play three concerts.

The saga became an all all-or-nothing stand-off that reached the Taoiseach’s office and made international headlines. In the end, Brooks pulled out of the concerts, leaving 400,000 fans disappointed.

However, the singer revealed that Ireland was still one of his favourite places to play.

“It was always the place where you couldn’t start a song, two words and it’s gone, they’re taking over. That’s the way music should be. When you hear them singing your stuff in Croke Park, it’s like heaven.”

Timeline: How the fiasco unfolded

January 20: Garth Brooks announces he will return to Croke Park for two nights in July as part of his comeback tour. The singer flies into Dublin to make the announcement, nearly 16 years after he last played sell-out concerts at the venue.

January 30: Around 240,000 tickets for three dates sell out in just 90 minutes. Tickets went on sale at 9am for two concerts on July 25 and 26. A third date went on sale at 9.30am due to demand and also sold out. In Dungannon fans had been camping outside Stewart's music store in the town a full five days before tickets went on sale.

January 31: Tickets for the sold-out gigs are being flogged on eBay for up to £500 each, it emerges.

February 6: A fourth and fifth date quickly sell out.

February 7: It emerges Croke Park has yet to ask authorities for permission to host any of Brooks' summer concerts. Meanwhile, disgruntled residents in the Croke Park vicinity say they were not consulted by concert organisers over the extra dates.

February 14: Residents reveal they are considering legal action against the organisers over the likely disruption.

March 6: Amid a growing row between residents and organisers, the GAA asks the chief executive of the Labour Relations Commission to chair mediation talks between the two sides.

July 1: Dublin City Council says it has received about 370 submissions from residents, businesses and other parties while it considers the licence application, which, it says, was lodged on April 17.

July 3: The council refuses licences for two gigs, granting permission for just three of the five planned concerts. It says five concerts would cause "an unacceptable level of disruption". Promoter Peter Aiken says he is hopeful but not optimistic that all five will go ahead. Garth Brooks warns 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."

July 4: A decision to refuse permission for two of the gigs cannot be changed or reversed, Dublin City Council says.

July 5: Peter Aiken says moving the dates or venues is not an option as crisis talks continue.

July 8: All five concerts are cancelled. Aiken Promotions says it is with "great regret" that it has to make the announcement.

July 9: Garth Brooks fiasco reaches leaders' questions in the Dail. And emergency meetings are held with Dublin City Council while Ticketmaster release details of the ticket refund process.

July 10: Garth Brooks holds a live press conference in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. Here he addresses the Ireland saga. He said: "If the Prime Minister (Taoiseach) himself wants to talk to me, I will crawl, swim or fly over there this weekend and sit in front of him," the star pleaded."I will drop to my knees and beg." That evening there was a proposal from Dublin City Council for Brooks to perform three night-time and two matinees instead. But within hours of saying he would do whatever it takes to put on the gigs, Brooks said the proposal "cannot possibly compare" to five separate night concerts.

July 11: Croke Park residents were incensed after Dublin City Council offered Garth Brooks' two additional matinee concerts.

July 14: Garth Brooks confirms his Croke Park concerts will not go ahead despite an offer to push back some of the shows until later in the year.

July 16: Hopes raised that the five Garth Brooks concerts could be saved following a meeting of the Oireachtas Committees and Transport Committee.

Further reading

Garth Brooks: Gardai suspect up to 40 per cent of objections to Croke Park concerts are forgeries

Garth Brooks: 'Crushed' singer pulls plug on Croke Park concerts 

Brooks refunds delayed amid talks

Garth Brooks to Taoiseach: Save my Croke Park gigs 

Garth Almighty: A profile of the country music legend 

Garth Brooks: Surreal meeting with the Elvis of our generation 

Brooks rejects five-gig compromise 

Garth Brooks: Croke Park residents angry over matinee concert offer 

Garth Brooks 'sceptical' about Dublin City Council proposal for matinee concerts 

Garth Brooks: Star's last-gasp plea sparks a behind-the-scenes flurry over Croke Park concerts

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