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Garth Brooks says Dublin shows will definitely not go ahead

By | Published on Tuesday 15 July 2014

Garth Brooks

Country music fans in Dublin have had the rope swing of hope dangled just out of reach for the last couple of weeks, but finally it has been snatched away. Garth Brooks will definitely not play any shows in the city this month, and all 400,000 tickets will now be refunded.

The whole saga has been quite a rollercoaster, as detailed in last week’s Beef Of The Week column. Brooks announced two shows at Dublin’s Croke Park stadium late last year. Demand for the shows led to three more being added, all of which sold out. But earlier this month Dublin City Council threw a spanner in the works, partly due to pressure from some local residents, by enforcing the venue’s licence, which limits it to three live music shows per year.

Brooks stamped his feet and said that it was five or nothing, as the council attempted to find a compromise. Then the company organising the shows, Aiken Promotions, announced that it had “exhausted all avenues” and that the shows were definitely, no questions, totally and utterly cancelled. But negotiations nonetheless continued (the Mexican ambassador even offering to mediate), and Brooks pleaded with Aiken to try harder to keep the dream alive.

With refunds originally due to go out yesterday morning, Ticketmaster pushed back the date to Thursday, as negotiations continued, and the world held its breath.

Well, you can breathe again, world, because it’s over. Having previously said that he couldn’t bear to tell 160,000 people that they couldn’t come and see him after all, because his shows were like his children, it’s been decided once and for all that it’s much better to disappoint all 400,000 fans.

In a statement yesterday evening, Brooks said: “I have always been advised to NEVER send a message in ‘the moment’. It is said it is best to take a walk, wait awhile, and think about it. With that said, I just received the news the Dublin City Council cannot change their earlier ruling to not allow the licenses for all five shows. To say I am crushed is an understatement. All I see is my mother’s face and I hear her voice. She always said things happen for a reason and for the right reason. As hard as I try, I cannot see the light on this one. So it is with a broken heart, I announce the ticket refunds for the event will go as posted by Ticketmaster”.

He’s not throwing blame around though, he continued: “I want to thank the Irish authorities for going the distance for all of us who wanted to share songs and dance together. I really want to thank all the people around the world that continued to think good thoughts that this would actually happen. Most of all, to [Aiken Promotions boss] Peter Aiken and those 400,000 people who believed enough to go through what they have been through to get to this point. I love you, always have, always will. I encourage any and all of them that can come see the show, at some point around the world, to bring your Irish flags and wave them proudly at the concerts. I will be looking for you”.

Yeah, disappointed Irish Garth Brooks fans, why don’t you make the bloody effort and travel to another country to see him? Or, you could book tickets to five of those foreign shows, get someone to refuse to allow you to go to two of them (perhaps an employer or a loved one), and then just tear up all the tickets instead, to get the full experience.

In a statement this morning, Aiken Promotions added: “Aiken Promotions regret to announce that despite pursuing all possible solutions, the five concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park is cancelled. No concerts will take place”.

Ticketholders are due to begin getting refunds at 9am on Thursday, which gives just enough time for this to turn out to be another round of bluff calling.