After a week of drama over whether the concerts would go ahead, it emerged yesterday all five would be cancelled. Up to 400,000 people were expected to attend Croke Park for the gigs and up to 70,000 were due to travel from overseas.
Fans aren’t to blame, said Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony, calling on Ticketmaster to refund booking fees.
“Customers paid up to €6.10 per ticket, which quickly adds up if you are buying multiple tickets. In many cases, families had planned to go together, and if booking fees are not refunded they will be left considerably out of pocket.”
In a display of goodwill, Bewley/Moran hotels said they will disregard terms and conditions usually associated with no-refund rooms and make full repayment to Brooks fans. Senior management at the hotel said they would have made about €1.1m if the concerts had gone ahead.
Meanwhile, Dublin’s business community is nearly as devastated by the cancellation as the country singer’s 400,000 fans. It’s been estimated that the series of concerts would have injected an extra €40m-€50m into the local economy.
Hoteliers, publicans and retailers described the cancellation as a “severe blow to Irish tourism” and warned of “huge reputational damage”.
Dublin Chamber of Commerce CEO Gina Quin said: “The worry is that the Garth Brooks debacle, which has created headlines around the world, will hinder Ireland’s ability to attract large concerts and events in the future. Events are now a key driver of tourism.”
The Chamber called for a complete review and overhaul of Ireland’s licensing legislation to ensure this episode is never repeated.
President of the Irish Hotels Federation Stephen McNally described the outcome as “shambolic”. He said the Government “needs to ensure this situation does not arise again” by putting in place “a workable approval process for future concerts and events”.
Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association Donal O’Keeffe said that the cancellation of all concerts was a “body blow” to the Dublin pub trade. He estimated the gigs would have generated €15m in revenue for pub owners.
“All the parties involved in this mess, including the city authorities, have mishandled this matter from start to finish. The whole episode represents a massive financial hit to our members and to the thousands of people whom they employ across the city,” he said.
Dublin senator Fianna Fáil’s Averil Power went a step further warning that “this fiasco... could result in us losing our bid for the Rugby World Cup”.
Chief executive of the Restaurants Association, Adrian Cummins, said the controversy had undermined Ireland’s reputation as a destination to host music, sporting and cultural events.
“The cancellation disrupts the travel plans of thousands of concert-goers who have already booked flights, hotels and tours. Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions throughout Ireland will all suffer because of the lack of streamlining between industry and governmental bodies,” he said.
How many Garth brooks concerts does it take to upset a Garth Brooks fan? None
In Brazil they build stadiums for millions to use once. In Ireland we can’t use our stadiums to gain millions. #GarthBrooks #Backwards
We complain about non-enforcement of planning laws for years and then when a local authority does its job, all hell breaks loose #GarthBrooks
Our CEO @adriancummins is coming up on @richardquest show live on @CNN shortly to discuss effect of #GarthBrooks concert cancellations
big #GarthBrooks fan. will consider mediating in exchange for 2 pina coladas
Gardaí have appealed to motorists to stop and tell any Leitrim folk they see walking to Dublin that the Garth gigs are off. #GarthBrooks
Adidas should pick up Garth Brooks as part of their #allinornothing ad campaign. #WorldCup #GarthBrooks #BrazilvsGermany
Our hearts go out to the blokes who ordered in 40,000 glittery cowboy hats to sell at the Garth Brooks gigs.
One half of Ireland is obsessed with the #GarthBrooks cancellations. The other half is obsessed with why the former half are obsessed at all
@GarthBrooksTour #GarthBrooks On behalf of #Ireland I apologise, so ashamed, your biggest fan. Last concert I was at was u!!! Had #Tickets