Tuesday 28 March 2017

Promoter accused of second false concert claim

James McGarrity
James McGarrity

Greg Harkin and Aideen Sheehan

A CONCERT promoter hit with a large libel bill last year after falsely claiming a big music star was to appear at his events has been accused of doing it again.

The Irish Independent has learned that a country music festival has been put on hold because of complaints from stars who say they haven't agreed to play at it.

It is not the first time James McGarrity has been accused of selling tickets for a gig featuring artists he has not actually signed up to perform. The CountryFest 2012 gig is scheduled to take place this summer at the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny, with promotional material claiming 80 artists will perform on four stages.

Last night, Michael Naughton, the manager of the Clanree Hotel, said concerts planned for June 30 and July 1 were "on hold" until "Mr McGarrity assures us of who has agreed to appear".

Mr Naughton said the hotel had received complaints about a promotional poster for the event that appeared on its website.

"The poster was provided to us by Mr McGarrity and we had no reason to believe any of the information was incorrect until we were contacted by artists who said they were not booked to appear and would not be appearing," Mr Naughton told the Irish Independent.

One of those artists was country music star Mick Flavin, who is celebrating 25 years touring this year. But he said the CountryFest was "definitely not" one of his planned gigs in 2012.

"I was furious when I saw the poster with my picture on it and my name saying that I would be appearing at the festival," Mr Flavin told the Irish Independent.

"This is not the first time James McGarrity has done this to me. He did the same thing three years ago for a concert at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, including me on promotional posters despite being told repeatedly by me that I would not be there.

"As far as I am concerned there aren't too many singers who want anything to do with him anymore. He is giving our industry a bad name.

"I have told him half a dozen times to stop using my name for this concert but he has not responded, so finally I contacted the hotel and told them."

Mr McGarrity was last year ordered to pay €80,000 in libel damages to country star Johnny McEvoy.

Mr McGarrity was also ordered to pay the singer's manager €100,000 at the High Court in Dublin after falsely saying Mr McEvoy would appear in another concert he was promoting.

Last night, he angrily rejected the claim of false advertising

"I have not been advertising any names and if you say I have, I will sue your paper," Mr McGarrity said.

Irish Independent

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