He’s on his way — and the weather and economic forecast is looking good.
Global superstar Ed Sheeran’s record-breaking nine- concert Irish tour which kicks off in Cork tomorrow could be worth a staggering €185m to the Irish economy.
The massive economic boost from his Cork, Galway, Belfast and Dublin gigs emerged yesterday as concert promoter Peter Aiken, of Aiken Promotions, confirmed that ticket sales have broken the 405,000 mark.
“It’s an historic occasion in Irish music history. Ed has sold 405,000 tickets. Nobody’s ever done that in the history of live music concerts in Ireland,” he said.
An economic analysis of an Elton John concert in Limerick, attended by 22,000 fans, showed it was worth around €10m to the local economy, Mr Aiken noted. With 405,000 people due to attend Sheeran’s Irish concerts, the spin-off could top €185m.
Speaking at a media briefing at Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday, Mr Aiken said concert-goers can expect an “incendiary performance” from the 27-year-old he described as “the best rockstar there is in the world”.
“He’s on the stage on his own and he puts on an incendiary performance. If you’re not an Ed fan, you will be halfway through the show. The guy is remarkable. The most important thing to us is the artist, and that he enjoys it as much as we’ve sold it to him. Ed will deliver. We hope the people of Cork will deliver what we’ve told him.”
Sheeran’s European tour opener tomorrow — the first of three-in-a-row on Leeside — will be the first concert in the regenerated Pairc Uí Chaoimh. By Monday, up to 120,000 people will have seen him perform. It is set to be the single biggest concert series the city has ever hosted.
Superintendent John Quilter said a comprehensive policing and traffic management plan has been prepared but he warned of traffic delays. There will be no parking around the stadium, and Supt Quilter urged people to walk or use public transport to get to the venue: “It’s the first time we’ve have three concerts in a row on a bank holiday weekend. It’s exciting for the city and it’s important it’s a success. Our aim is to ensure that people attending the concerts arrive and get home safely.”
Event controller, Sophie Ridley, said no bags over A4 size will be allowed inside the venue; under 18s must be accompanied by an adult; and people who look under 21 will be asked for ID if they try to buy alcohol. She said tickets will be subject to ID checks and concert-goers using tickets bought by someone else should have a copy of the credit card used to buy the tickets, with the name and last four digits of the card number visible.
Sgt Peter Murphy urged concert-goers to download a specially built App, Ed Tour 2018, which has site-specific concert information for each of the Irish venues. He will also co-ordinate the dissemination of real-time concert information via local media and social media across the weekend from a nerve centre in the stadium.
Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium director, Bob Ryan, declined to discuss how much money the gigs will generate for the Cork County Board but said it will be ploughed back into the promotion of the games, and towards paying off the debt associated with the development of the stadium. And he insisted that every precaution has been taken to protect the pitch surface: “The pitch had improved dramatically from what it was six to eight weeks ago. We had no growth over the winter. There is a major shade issue under the south stand. We are addressing that, but growth had come back. All protections that are possible are being put down. And next Monday we’re back in business getting ready for Cork V Clare on May 20.”
Publican Michael O’Donovan, chair of the Cork city branch of the Vintners Federation, said area exemptions will be in place across the weekend, allowing them to serve until 2.30am.
Sheeran is due to play Belfast next Wednesday; Galway’s Pearse Stadium on Saturday and Sunday May ; before finishing his Irish tour with three nights in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
Traffic and parking plans in place
Gates will open at Páirc Uí Chaoimh at 5pm each concert night, with support acts Beoga due on stage at 5.45pm, Jamie Lawson at 6.30pm, and Anne Marie at 7.30pm.
Ed Sheeran is due on stage at 8.45pm.
Early queuing will not be allowed.
There is no parking available at the venue, with tow-away in operation. Gardaí have advised people to travel to the venue by train, by bus, or by walking.
Bus Éireann will operate a shuttle service from Lapps Quay, and another from Kent railway station, to within 400 yards of the venue, every five minutes from 3pm to 8pm each concert day.
Its 202 bus, which operates from Merchant’s Quay to Mahon, via Ballintemple, will run as normal, with additional services after the gigs, departing for the city from Blackrock Rd, close to the Venue Bar.
There will be a designated drop-off point for minibuses and coaches on Boreenmanna Rd, between Wallace’s Ave and Páirc Uí Rinn, a 10-minute walk from the stadium.
Irish Rail has post-concert trains departing from Kent Station for Cobh at 11.30pm, for Mallow at 11.35pm, and for Midleton at 11.40pm each concert night.
The Paul St (740 spaces) and North Main St (400 spaces) car parks will remain open until 1am on each of the concert nights.
The Q-Park facilities at Carroll’s Quay, Grand Parade, St Finbarr’s, and City Hall are open 24 hours.
Parking at St Patrick’s Quay (187 spaces), Blackrock GAA Club (250 spaces), Cork Camogie Club, Mahon (300 spaces), and Cork Con RFC (800 spaces) will also be available.
Real-time parking data is available from www.data.corkcity.ie/dataset/parking.
Designated taxi drop-off areas are on the Victoria Rd, just before Marina Walk, and at the junction of Boreenmanna Rd and Churchyard Lane.
Taxis carrying disabled passengers may be allowed down Centre Park Rd to drop off on Monahan Rd, outside Sutton’s Coal.
Designated pick-up points are on Albert Rd and on Boreenmanna Rd.
Taxis will not be allowed to stop on Victoria Rd roundabout.
Aiken Promotions has contacted people who bought disabled concert tickets with specific access and parking information.
There will be free tag-a-kid safety wristbands at all the customer care points outside and inside the venue.
Umbrellas, flag poles, selfie sticks, and sticks for banners are not allowed.
People without bags will be fast-tracked. If you must bring a bag, it needs to be less than A4 size.
The Garda traffic plan is available on www.garda.ie.
You can also download the Ed Tour 2018 app, or follow the #EdCork hastag on Twitter for live updates.
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