Soaring concert ticket sales is music to promoter's ears
SOARING attendances at Irish music and sporting events is proof Ireland's economy has turned the corner, according to a top promoter.
Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions said his company faces a record-breaking year following the success of the 10th 'Live at the Marquee' concert series in Cork and the spectacular demand for Garth Brooks tickets at Croke Park in Dublin.
He was speaking ahead of Cliff Richard's sellout concert last night which opened the month-long festival.
"The first year we did this we did 12 shows. We are doing 23 this year but I could have had 33 shows," Mr Aiken said.
"I spend as much time telling people why I can't get them to do 'Live at the Marquee'. The acts all want to do it but I can't have too much of the same thing."
Mr Aiken (pictured, right, with Nathan Carter) said there are definite signs that Irish consumer confidence is growing.
"The big opposition we have is sport . . . sport is huge in Ireland.
"It is not just the World Cup but rugby is huge and the GAA is huge."
"We are basically all pulling from the same pool. But the Marquee has established itself as a worldwide event – the amount of people that want to play here is just incredible."
The majority of the headline acts have already sold out.
Mr Aiken said there had been signs for some time of growing Irish consumer confidence.
"People want to go out – we are just lucky with the quality acts that we are attracting to Ireland from Bruce Springsteen last year to Garth Brooks this year and the full 'Live at the Marquee' programme.
"Good acts will always sell . . . we have Paolo Nutini here at the Marquee and he sold out two nights in a matter of minutes."
Mr Aiken said a special 10th anniversary 'Live at the Marquee' album is now in the pipeline to mark the highlights of a decade of concerts involving some of the world's top stars.
"We have to get someone to manage it for us. But I am definitely going to do the album," he said.
He admitted he never experienced anything like the demand for tickets for the Garth Brooks comeback tour.
All five Croke Park dates for the Oklahoma-born singer sold out with an astonishing 400,000 tickets snapped up in a matter of hours.
"It has been amazing . . . it is the first time that any artist will have played five consecutive sold-out dates at Croke Park," Mr Aiken said.