'I'm out of pocket €600 and that's without a hotel' - Garth Brooks fans travelling from abroad are worst hit
The news that all five Garth Brooks concerts may be in jeopardy is a double blow for hardcore fans of the country singer.
Currently, 160,000 fans will be disappointed as two of the five concerts were denied a licence earlier today.
Those worst affected are fans travelling from abroad who have shelled out for flights as well as tickets, and accommodation.
Andrew Downie (46) from Manchester is out of pocket by almost €600 (£470), without having booked a hotel, but it’s the prospect of missing out on seeing his idol that really stings.
“I’m a huge fan and have been for years,” he reveals, “Garth Brooks hasn’t toured in ten years and I’m 46 now so this concert is a one night only opportunity.
“When my friend Carol Morrow said she could get a ticket I said, ‘I don't care how much it costs or where it is I’ll move things to suit it. And I did.
“I’m absolutely gutted. It’s such a let down. It’s so hard to get tickets here [UK] for Ireland and when I tried for the first few concerts I was disappointed. I had my hopes raised and they’re let down again.”
Andrew feels the promoters were “naive” to sell tickets without a licence.
“It’s incredibly naive by anybody to do anything like that. It can only be the lure of the money. It’s 80,000 tickets a night at about €100 so that’s a big incentive to cut corners.”
Andrew hopes an alternative venue can be found before the gigs kick off on Friday July 25.
“I’d go and watch him anywhere, I’d sit on an upturned soap box on the side of a mountain in the rain. If he said he was going to play Belfast instead, or offered a ticket in Sweden I’d accept it.
“But what do I do now? Do I cancel my flights to Dublin? I won’t get my money back. And then I have to re-book a more expensive flight to Amsterdam. It’s a poor show.”
Andrew’s friend Carol Morrow, also from Manchester, was due to accompany Andrew to Garth Brooks.
“I’m absolutely gutted,” she says. “I can’t believe it. I like him but Andrew is a huge fan. I feel bad for him too."
Carol was travelling to Ireland anyway for her daughter Louise’s birthday, but extended her trip by a day to accommodate the concert.
“I had to take an extra day holiday that it turns out I probably didn’t need to take. But it’s not just that – I’m gutted I’m not going to see him.”
Carol feels that Aiken Promotions have let the fans down.
“They shouldn’t have sold the tickets unless they’d actually got permission and sorted it first,” she says.
“People are flying over to see him, booking flights, hotels, days off work. It’s just quite annoying.”
She adds that even if an alternative venue is found, she feels the good has been taken out of it.
“You’re looking forward to something so much. It’s a once in a lifetime experience. Garth concerts don’t happen often. We did get the chance and it’s just been taken away. I do feel deflated."