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Sunday 8 December 2019

Garth Brooks still calls Ireland 'home' despite concert licence issue

Independent.ie's Joyce Fegan was front row at the superstar's conference in Nashville

Independent.ie's Joyce Fegan was front row at the Garth Brooks conference in Nashville, Tenessee this afternoon.

She spoke to the country singer about his dispair at Ireland's "system", his confusion at the recent turn of events and his enduring love for the country he calls "home".

Joyce Fegan: "As it stands, is it just the three out of five [concerts] as I’ve just been hearing that we are closer to a deal?"

Garth Brooks: "Not if it’s selling 160,000 people... You got to remember that for me, when I think of Ireland, I think of love.

"For me, it’s not Ireland to say ‘160,000 people? Screw you’. That’s just not you guys.

"Trust me I am shock, dumbfounded, whatever. I don’t know if you guys are?"

Fegan: “We are. The country is in shock and there’s a very strong will. I’ve been there as it all unfounded. There’s a very strong will to make this happen Garth.”

Brooks: “There’s a love affair between Ireland and [country] music. Forget me. And that was happening, rocking. People from Ireland were asking ‘When are you coming back?’

“Because I want to hear that phrase I love to hear: ‘Garth, welcome to Ireland’

“Coming to Ireland six months ago, the first thing I heard was ‘Garth, welcome home’ and I lost it. What a sweet moment.

“I feel that me and you have it alright [pointing to Joyce] but the system is screwing things up.”

“And I don’t know how you handle it over there but, over here, they work for the people.”

Fegan: Did you receive any warning that the licence for all five concerts weren’t going to be given to you? And do you think you should have Garth?”

“I’m a stranger in not my land.  This may be too simple...

“I did press for the first one – I don’t think there was anyone on the planet that didn’t know. I did as much press for the second onsale.

“At no time in there ever did anybody go ‘woah, woah, woah’ wait. At no time when the 400,000 tickets were announced did anyone say wait. At no time in these monthly meetings...did anybody say ‘woah,woah,woah'

“So no, not until you heard the news. I probably heard the word after you.

“What we’re talking about here today should be bright and shiny but it’s not, it’s a loss between an artist and the people that allow him to be an artist.”

Fegan: "I know all of the fans are staying loyal to you. Everyone is happy with your decision that you didn’t pick one over the other. But, aside from us feeling embarrassed, are you hurt by how you’ve been treated by Ireland and the system?"

Brooks: “It’s my opinion that the system got soem weight on it and it buckled. I think it’s the systems job to look at itself. I think they do that after they take care of 400,000 people who have made their plans. 400,000 and one that have made their plans.

“Ireland has my love forever. Whether I play there again or not is not the question here.”

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