Friday 31 October 2014

'Bob Geldof was right - banana republic' - Louis Walsh on Brooks' concerts cancellation fallout

Published 08/07/2014 | 17:24

Louis Walsh
Louis Walsh

Louis Walsh has defended concert promoter Peter Aiken in the wake of the cancellation of all five of Garth Brooks' gigs due to take place at Croke Park from July 28.

Speaking with Colm Hayes on 2Fm, The X Factor UK judge said he is "100% on his [Aiken's] side".

"I know Peter Aiken and he's one of the best promoters in the business, and respected worldwide," he said.

"He’s best friends with Garth Brooks, and his manager.  I’ve never seen him so excited as when he booked these gigs.  This was very personal to him and his own family."

Walsh went on to lament not only the loss of revenue, but the damage to Ireland's reputation, and said promoters will now be scared to book big acts in Irish venues.

"It was great for the country, for hotels and restaurants and taxis, and now everyone is going to suffer because of someone somewhere and red tape," he said.

"It's sending out a really bad message.  We're supposed to be a friendly nation."

Louis also defended Aiken's decision to sell two more gigs following the first three sold concerts; "As they sold out they kept adding gigs and that's what anyone would have done."

He said, "I feel it's really unfair that a handful of people can hold the country to ransom" adding, "I'm 100% on [Peter Aiken and Garth Brooks'] side."

Of Brooks' decision to pull out of all five concerts rather than do the first three, Louis suggested the issue is more complicated than it seems.

"I think they had production in place for five, a TV show, lots of stuff behind the scenes going on we don't know about, hundreds working on it behind the scenes.

He suggested the fallout will have far reaching consequences for the country's reputation.

"He was coming here and it was going to be part of history for him.  This will go around the world now that we couldn't run five concerts.  Maybe Bob Geldof was right - banana republic."

Of Ireland's future as a pull for big name acts, he said, "I think everyone is going to be scared now to book acts in Ireland."

However, Louis added that Aiken and Brooks "won't let the people down" and suggested they may schedule alternative dates next year in "Belfast, Cork or Limerick."

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