Garth Brooks fans face anxious wait on concerts

Some 160,000 Garth Brooks fans are anxiously awaiting developments after Dublin City Council axed two of the country music superstar’s Croke Park concerts.

The local authority announced that it was granting a licence for three concerts, and not the five sought by show organisers Aiken Promotions, despite the sale of 400,000 tickets.

The news sparked consternation among fans of the American musician, with the GAA stating it would keep silent on the issue until Monday and the Irish Hotels Federation claiming the move would “damage Ireland’s tourism brand”.

Fears that some of the concerts would have to be scrapped had been raised following strong and vocal opposition from Croke Park residents, and a resolution process which recommended that in future a maximum of three consecutive shows at the venue should be allowed.

The news that DCC had ruled out the fourth and fifth shows means that only the concerts of July 25, 26 and 27 (Fri, Sat, & Sun), will go ahead, amid fears that all five concerts could be cancelled.

It also prompted speculation as to possible alternative venues, with management of the Aviva stadium refusing to rule out a switch there, while Henry Mountcharles said his Slane Castle venue would not be available.

Outlining its decision, Dublin City Council revealed it had received 373 submissions on the licence application and cited the possibility of “antisocial behaviour” as a reason for two shows being axed.

It gave three main reasons for refusing licences for two of the shows:

- The “unprecedented” nature of the concerts, with 80,000 capacity sell-out shows on five straight nights;

- Croke Park played host to three consecutive One Direction concerts from May 23-25, so another string of shows “is considered an over-intensification of use of the stadium for the holding of special events/concerts” — and would in effect double the maximum number of concerts that had previously been held in Croke Park in any given year since the redevelopment of the stadium;

- The “cumulative effect on residents and on some businesses” in the area, with the potential for unacceptable levels of disruption and the possibility of illegal parking and anti-social behaviour.

Aiken Promotions said it was “disappointed” with the ruling, while Irish Hotel Federation president Stephen McNally said it would harm tourism.

Henry Mountcharles said he had made a “strategic decision” earlier this year that Slane would not host a concert in 2014.

“That position will not change. The bottom line on this, from a logistical point of view, is it would be very difficult,” he said.

“This breaks down to the fact that maybe doing five gigs in a row, in this context, is over-egging the pudding.”

But one person who was not disappointed was Junior Foreign Affairs Minister Joe Costello, who said: “I’m delighted with the decision. I think it’s a decision for the community and it’s a decision for reason.

“It was never appropriate that there should be five consecutive concerts there after three One Direction concerts and there had been no consultation with public representatives, with the community, in relation to them.” He said the decision meant the Croke Park residents “were now being taken seriously” and recommendations in the Mulvey resolution process recommending no more than three straight concerts at any one time, was “an enforceable structure”.

Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kenneth N O’Flynn, said he had written to Aiken Promotions and Cork GAA requesting that they consider using Cork City as the venue for the two concerts.

Ticket refunds

What the National Consumer Agency advise on ticket refunds:

“You are entitled to a refund of the ticket price when an event is cancelled. The information you received at the time of purchase of the ticket should include details on how to get a refund. If you don’t have this information then contact the seller or agent, or check their website.

“If you booked transport or accommodation separately you should contact the accommodation or transport provider as early as possible to find out what their terms on cancellations and refunds are so you can consider your options.

“It can be tempting if you miss out on concert tickets, to consider buying from a ticket reselling site. If the reseller is a business then you should be entitled to a refund if the event is cancelled, however if you purchased a ticket from a private seller then you do not have the same rights. If an event is cancelled ticket values are often refunded to the original purchaser and through the method of payment that was used. This means that if your ticket was originally paid for by a credit card then the refund will be processed through that card.”

Customers who booked rail travel to the concerts which have been cancelled will be refunded in full.

A spokesperson for Iarnród Éireann said: “The situation surrounding the concerts is still somewhat fluid, with rumours of alternative locations and possible impacts on other concerts circulating. When the full details are finalised over the coming days, we will immediately arrange for customers who booked travel with us to attend the cancelled concerts to be refunded.”

More info at: www.consumerhelp.ie

Tweet advice: Online reaction

Some of the online reaction to the axing of two Brooks concerts:

"Dear Aiken Promotions,

I write to you in the hope that you will consider Killinkere GFC’s ground as a possible alternative venue for the axed Garth Brooks gigs.

Our facilities have been upgraded no end and we have recently built a stand and installed a toilet. There’s ample parking as it will coincide with the second cut of silage and there’ll be fields aplenty nearby to abandon cars in.

Support acts to Garth can be provided if necessary and the number of raffles held during the gig is negotiable.

Yours sincerely,

Killinkere GFC "

@KillinkereGFC and https://www.facebook.com/killinkereGFC

"Garth Brooks should have made some friends in higher places" — @colmtobin

"As Kerry learned in 82 and Kilkenny in 2010, very hard to do a 5 in a row in croke park as garth brooks now knows" — @SenatorMarkDaly

"Tim Howard can save the Garth Brooks shows" — @desbishop

"I got friends in no places where the residents drown and the council chases my shows away" — @pjgallagher

"Forget policies fairly sure the Irish politician or political party that saves the #GarthBrooks concerts has a bright future!" — @kencurtin

"Maybe I shouldn’t catch the flight home. From what I hear, Ireland is about to implode over Garth Brooks" — @darren606

"Looks like I’m not going to Garth Brooks then" — @chloecagney

"I told him, I said Garth, You should just play 365 nights in Vicar St to avoid the grief, did he listen?" — @gPaul1972

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