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Sunday 21 September 2014

'Crushed' Garth Brooks confirms Croke Park cancellations

Denise Calnan and Niall O'Connor

Published 14/07/2014 | 21:48

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Garth Brooks has confirmed in a statement that none of the five Croke Park concerts will go ahead.

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The country and western singer said he has just received the news that Dublin City Council 'cannot change their earlier ruling to not allow the licences for all five shows’ and the Ticketmaster ticket refunds will go ahead as planned.

“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,” he wrote in a statement through his public relations company Nancy Seltzer and Associates, based in LA.

He continued; “With that said, I just received the news the Irish 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.”

The singer thanked the Irish authorities ‘for going the distance for all of us who wanted to share the songs and dance together’.

He also thanked ‘the people around the world that continued to think good thoughts that this would actually happen’.

The singer used the statement to thank Peter Aiken and the 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,” he wrote.

“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 waive them proudly at the concerts. I will be looking for you.…Garth,” he signed the note.

The statement comes after almost two weeks of deliberations between Garth’s management, Aiken Promotions and the Dublin City Council to see if the Croke Park concert licensing agreement could be reversed.

Tickets for five of Garth Brooks’ Comeback Special concerts went on sale in January, but it transpired a fortnight ago that only three of the concerts had licenses granted.

Aiken Promotions followed up Garth's note with the statement saying they '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'.

They also confirmed that the ticket return process will begin on Thursday, July 17 at 9am.

A proposal that would see Garth Brooks perform up to three Croke Park concerts in October was among a "series of solutions" put forward during negotiations this week.

Independent.ie has learned that those involved in the talks discussed the prospect of the music icon performing six gigs - three in July and the remainder in October.

Government sources dubbed this the 'Joe Costello proposal', after the Labour Minister suggested it directly during a phone conversation with Brooks' management team tonight.

But the option failed to materialise following what was described by informed sources as 'deeply frustrating negotiations'.

Dublin City Manager Owen Keegan will tomorrow come under fire by TDs after Garth Brooks pulled the plug on the concerts.

Government sources tonight said the proposal which would see Brooks return in October during his world tour was "the perfect solution".

"It was a runner and it was workable. More importantly it would ensure every ticket was honoured - is that not what Garth Brooks wanted?"

While the same sources suggested that Brooks himself was uncooperative in agreeing to a different approach, a separate source involved in the discussions suggested that the negotiation team failed to come up with the goods.

"There were several solutions suggested all week but there was no budging. These were the most deeply frustrating negotiations imaginable,"said the source.

The new Environment Minister Alan Kelly has vowed to change the laws to ensure the fiasco surrounding the concerts is not repeated.

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