Music News

Thursday 24 July 2014

Taoiseach intervenes in last-ditch attempt to save Garth Brooks' Croke Park gigs

Efforts follow country singer's plea to 'the powers that be' for concerts to go ahead

Denise Calnan

Published 09/07/2014|17:45

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Taoiseach Enda Kenny has requested for a meeting to be organised between Dublin's City Manager and Lord Mayor tonight in a last-ditch effort to save Garth Brooks' Croke Park gigs.

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It emerged this evening that the Taoiseach had been making efforts to have the country singer's Comeback Special staged at Croke Park.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny's efforts follow a letter from the singer to 'Aiken Promotions and Ireland' today in which he said he wanted all five of his Irish concerts to go ahead and has asked if there is ‘any chance’ they can.

In a letter to Peter Aiken, head of Aiken Promotions, Garth writes that if ‘there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged and nobody is being let down’ they can ‘proceed as planned’.

The letter, which was addressed to Peter Aiken, reads; ‘If you think for any reason that the ‘powers that be’ in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second’.

The singer said he was informed yesterday that the shows have been cancelled and that the ticket refunds will begin on Monday.

“I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now,” he wrote in the letter.

“I hope you understand that to play for 400,000 people would be a dream, but to tell 160,000 of those people that they are not welcome would be a nightmare.

“To do what the city manager suggests (play three shows and not all five) means I agree that is how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that.”

The letter, which Garth agreed could be sent to Irish media outlets, reports that his ‘guys’ are still en route to Ireland with the concert equipment.

“Our guys are still en route and if there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged and nobody is being let down then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin.”

He continues: “If you tell me, ‘Garth, thanks but it is over’, I will cease my efforts and bring our people and gear back to the States.

“If you think that for any reason that the ‘powers that be’ in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second.”

He concludes the note; “Please let me know how to proceed. All my gratitude, respect, and love to you and Ireland, G.”

However, a spokesman from Ticketmaster confirmed that it was still planning to begin issuing refunds to ticketholders from Monday, regardless of the letter.

He said: “All our systems are in place now. This letter has just turned up, but we haven’t been told that the situation has changed.

“We can’t do anything until we have notice of something happening,” he added.

“The refund process has been set in motion but these won’t happen until after July 15.”

The singer has commented for the first time since Aiken Promotions announced all five of his planned Croke Park concerts would be cancelled yesterday.

The concert promoters were first to announce the news, saying;"It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the 5 concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled. No concerts will take place.

"Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event.

"We are very disappointed for the 400,000 fans who purchased tickets for The Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event. "

An unprecedented row erupted in Ireland after the singer extended his planned two shows at Dublin's Croke Park to more than twice as many gigs to cope with demand.

Some 400,000 tickets were sold to fans worldwide. But city chiefs turned down planning permission for two of the concerts over an agreement between stadium owners the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and residents living around the arena.

It was originally reported that promoter Peter Aiken has flown out to meet Garth Brooks in a last ditch effort to save the concerts.

However, it was confirmed last night that Mr Aiken did not leave for the US but remains in constant contact with the country star.

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