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Wednesday 20 August 2014

'I will crawl, swim or fly, I will sit in front of the Taoiseach and beg'- Garth Brooks

Country music star has ruled out new matinee event plan proposed by Dublin City Council

Denise Calnan and Philip Ryan and Louise Kelly and Niall O'Connor

Published 10/07/2014 | 14:48

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Country music star Garth Brooks has ruled out a proposal from Dublin City Council to hold the five planned shows over three days.

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Sources told independent.ie that the superstar is not happy with the concept of playing two shows in one day.

Aiken Promotions tonight confirmed that the proposal to hold matinees on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th July will not be feasible.

The announcement comes after the DCC suggested a renewed event plan that would allow the Saturday and Sunday shows to start earlier to facilitate separate matinee audiences on these two days.

The DCC issued a statement this evening with the revised event plan. 

"Under the proposal [from Aiken] the City Council will consider an updated Event Management Plan, to be submitted in accordance with the Licence, whereby the three concerts will proceed but the Saturday and Sunday concerts will start earlier to facilitate separate matinee audiences on these two days," read the statement.

"This will allow everybody who bought a ticket to see Garth Brooks."

The statement added a disclaimer that: "It will be a matter for Aiken Promotions and Garth Brooks to decide if they wish to pursue this suggestion."

Immediately after the statement was released, sources confirmed that Peter Aiken was understood to be "sceptical and unsure" as to whether Garth Brooks would accept the new deal.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny tonight said he hoped the fresh proposals will be accepted by Mr Brooks and Aiken promoters.

Media waiting for country music star Garth Brooks before his live web conference in Nashville, Tennessee (Photo: Joyce Fegan)

Mr Kenny welcomed news of the "potential solution" and confirmed that officials from this department had been in touch with those involved in the talks.

But the Taoiseach warned that City Manager Owen Keegan could only work within the planning rules.

Describing Garth Brooks as a "superstar in country music", Mr Kenny refused to say whether he would talk personally to the musician.

He said he had not seen the press conference in Nashville but that he now hopes for a positive reaction from the Brooks camp.

This afternoon, Garth Brooks spoke at his live press conference today, referring to the recent debacle regarding his Croke Park gigs in Dublin.

“If the prime minister wants to talk to me, I will crawl, I will swim or I will fly to him, I will sit in front of him, drop on my knees and beg – let me play to these 400,000 people.”

The singer spoke of Ireland just minutes after he addressed his new record deal with Sony.

“In the nineties, controversy and Garth Brooks found each other and I always knew, good or bad, you know how you got into it. Ireland I don’t have a clue [how it happened],” he said.

“I went over in January to do press and I was treated like a king, I had a wonderful on sale there with three shows, I was told I have 100,000 people still looking for tickets, I had to clarify...”

“And we talked about another on sale – for one city Limerick – the system went down and these people had camped for days for this.

“We’re looking at them and we said, we got to call Limerick. I had supervisors on their way to Limerick to see if everyone got taken care of,” he said.

The singer said he ‘wished he saw [the debacle] coming’. He said his main reason for not doing three of the five shows is because he believes nobody should ever ‘be treated different’.

 “We don’t do golden circle, it’s always been the same price across the board, You treat everyone equal, same way here, even in Vegas,” he said.

“Why are the 160,000 people being treated different to the 240,000? The statement to me was you can make 240,000 happy and play three shows, and mine back was, yes, or you can make 400,000 happy and let me play five shows.

“I don’t know how we got here but the 'powers that be' aren’t here to help.

“Create your laws, create your guidelines but don’t sell a show to people and get their hopes up and cancel them,” he continued.

“That’s not okay – if the prime minister himself wants to talk to me, I will crawl, swim, I will fly to him, i will sit in front of him, down on my knees and beg him to let me play.”

The singer said he thinks the Irish system needs to be altered.

"I think it’s the system's job to look at it and fix it, but I think they should fix this for the 400,00 people first," he said.

"The Irish have my love forever. Whether I play there again or not is not the answer."

Garth Brooks spoke as he took to the stage in Nashville, Tennessee to announce his world tour.

Earlier, a source involved in the negotiations told independent.ie: "Things are very sensitive but a deal is close."

The Croke Park Community and Handball Centre contacted the Lord Mayor with a view to facilitating the Garth Brooks concerts.

"The officers of the Croke Park Community and Handball Centre have deliberated on the ongoing crisis surrounding the proposed Garth Brooks concerts," a statement they released this afternoon read. 

"In the interest of all the Croke Park communities we are prepared to consider a new direction with a view to facilitating the holding of the Garth Brooks concerts.

"The Lord Mayor, Cllr. Christy Burke, who has been a central figure in the negotiations, has agreed to bring this latest development to the attention of the various parties involved"

A source involved in the negotiations told independent.ie that they are now "at a very sensitive stage".

"There has been at lot of movement and things are moving in the right direction. But things are too close to call at this stage".

The source refused to be drawn on speculation that Brooks will play three gigs this summer and two at a later date.

"I won't go there yet, it's too sensitive to speculate on that," said the well-placed source.

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council manager Owen Keegan will not appear before the Transport and Communication Committee tomorrow to explain his role in the Garth Brooks concerts controversy.

Despite the embarrassing fiasco making international headlines, Mr Keegan told the committee he is not available tomorrow.

However, he is willing to attend a meeting next Tuesday.

Dublin City Council said Mr Keegan cannot attend talks in Leinster House because of work commitments.

"He cannot attend because of work matters, he is not taking annual leave," a spokesman said.

"He told the committee he could appear on other dates and they were happy with that," he added.

The spokesman said the council work Mr Keegan was attending to did not relate to the Garth Brooks concerts.

Representatives from the GAA and concert promoter Peter Aiken attended the meeting which discussed the events leading to the cancellation of the country music star’s five concerts in Croke Park.

The emergency meeting was arranged to address the licencing row which saw two of the five concerts ruled out.

Independent.ie understands the committee was trying to establish if verbal agreements were made between Dublin City Council and concert promoters ahead of the licencing decision.

More than 400,000 fans of the iconic country music star were left disappointed when Mr Brooks said he would not be performing in Croke Park later this month.

However, his fans were given a glimmer of hope when Mr Brook appealed to the “powers that be” to allow his five concerts go ahead in a letter to Peter Aiken that was published.

The controversy dominated the first half of Fine Gael’s parliamentary party meeting last night where members were given assurances the Government was working behind the scenes to resolve the crisis.

Meanwhile, the White House has said it will not get involved in the Garth Brooks fiasco.

Earlier today, Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke revealed that the Mexican Ambassador had offered to mediate in the ‘will he, won’t he’ saga over whether the country music star will play five nights at Croke Park.

Mr Burke also said a group of residents from Ballybough in Dublin told him they intend to call on US President Barack Obama to try to encourage Mr Brooks to play in the capital.

But when contacted by Independent.ie this afternoon, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed that the President will not be intervening

“This is an issue we'll leave it to Mr. Brooks and the City of Dublin to resolve,” she said.

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