Thursday 29 June 2017

Desmond's MCD aiming to sell 1.3m tickets as U2 and Coldplay top bills

U2 in concert
U2 in concert

Gordon Deegan

Concert promoter Denis Desmond has said that MCD is aiming to sell 1.3m concert tickets this year.

Boosted by upcoming sell-out summer gigs by U2 and Coldplay, Mr Desmond said "the year is looking very positive".

Figures from trade industry journal 'Pollstar' show that 1.15 million music fans paid to see MCD gigs in Ireland last year.

This represents a 10pc decline on the 1.284 million fans in 2015. The drop came in spite of the MCD promoting the likes of sell-out gigs by Beyonce last year. Last year, MCD was ranked the 16th-highest in the world, with Live Nation being far and away the word's biggest promoter with 44m tickets sold.

Mr Desmond attributed last year's drop to the "cyclical" nature of live music industry where promoters depend on live acts touring new work.

Along with U2 and Coldplay, MCD is promoting Guns 'n' Roses, Robbie Williams and Phil Collins this year.

Next week it announces the Electric Picnic line-up and Mr Desmond said that "80pc of tickets have already been sold without any acts named".

The remaining tickets will go on sale on March 23 after the line-up is announced.

Mr Desmond said tickets for Longitude at Dublin's Marlay Park from July 14 to 16 are also selling well, adding: "Business is good though we don't have as many shows as we could have."

He said there will be no stand-alone gigs at Marlay Park this year because of artist unavailability.

"A number of bands who were hoping to finish albums in the early part of this year won't have their work complete by the end of 2017 so they will be touring in 2018."

Fans of Coldplay and U2 were disappointed that the bands will not be playing second gigs this year and Mr Desmond said "the logistics don't stack up".

He said that the bands could in all likelihood have played second dates if there were no restrictions on crews working through the night at outdoor concert venues in Dublin to install or remove equipment. Mr Desmond said that there are no such restrictions at Wembley in London or the Stade de France in Paris.

"Instead of a two-day turnaround, you are talking a three-day turnaround for bands," he said.

"If those restrictions were lifted, it would take one day for the tour to get out instead of two."

There is also a restriction on Croke Park staging three gigs every summer while the likes of Wembley can stage 20 a year.

Mr Desmond also said that he is in favour of making it illegal for websites to sell on concert tickets at a profit.

"People who buy an airline ticket aren't allowed to sell it on and the same should apply for concert tickets," he said.

"It should be done across the board and for sports events along with music events."

Irish Independent

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