Up to 5,000 concert goers were left fuming when lighting problems discovered just after 4pm forced the cancellation of the 8pm sell-out show in the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet on Saturday.
Several angry fans phoned radio shows yesterday suggesting the pint-sized powerhouse refused to play because she didn’t like the venue.
But the owners of the arena, infamously dubbed a “cow-shed” by the BBC’s Nicholas Witchell before it hosted the hugely successful 1993 Eurovision song contest, strongly rejected the claims.
Arena manager, Thomas Duggan, said the cancellation was “due in no way” to the venue.
“The cancellation was due to defective rigging material for the show lighting, which was supplied by outside agents and not by the Green Glens Arena,” he said.
“We categorically refute all other suggestions and malicious rumours.”
Parton and her entourage arrived on site at 7am on Saturday. They stayed on site for the whole day except for a short period when they toured the area in her tour bus.
“In fact, Ms Parton was so impressed with Millstreet that she asked for a tour of the area and took a piece of Irish earth from the foot of Clara Mountain,” Mr Duggan said.
Parton issued a statement to her “dear fans” last night apologising for the cancellation.
“I was here, ready and excited to do the show but was advised late in the day that there were mechanical and technical problems too severe to be solved in time to get the show up safely,” she said.
“Safety is most important for the audience as well as the performers as I am sure you would agree. No one could be more disappointed and hurt than I am. I promise to try to make it up to you somehow someday. Just know that I will always love you,” she said.
A spokesman for Aiken Promotions said fans can claim full refunds on their tickets at the point of sale or from Ticketmaster on their hotline: 01 648 6000.
Mr Duggan said while his venue lost substantial cash, his heart went out to the fans.
“They are Dolly’s fans but our patrons. There are a lot of things more important than money,” he said.
“People were inconvenienced. It was soul-destroying for the fans. We know of people who came from as far away as Barcelona for the gig.”
Having wowed fans in Dublin last night, Parton plays Belfast tonight, reprising her show there on Saturday.