Monday 24 June 2019

‘It was like Brexit - every second day there was another twist’ – relive Garth Brooks Croker drama in new documentary

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

It has been five years since the high drama of Garth Brooks 'will he or won't he' play Croke Park saga gripped the nation.

For some of the 400,000 or so people who bought tickets to one of the planned five nights the country legend was to take to the stage at the Dublin stadium, however, it's likely still a bit of a sore point.

Brooks had not played in Ireland since 1997 but has a huge, loyal fan base here so the announcement of initially two, and then three, four and five concerts was met with jubilance and a ticket spending spree.

However, the tickets were sold 'subject to license' and Croke Park only had planning permission to host three special events a year, which had already been allocated.

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Dublin City Council refused to grant a licence for two of the five Comeback Special concerts because of the agreement between stadium owners the GAA and residents living in the area.

The concerts were planned for late July and, rather than continue with three, Brooks opted to cancel all five.

Many fans had already purchased tickets and were absolutely devastated to have to avail of refunds.

A new documentary charts the high and low points of the debacle which played out over the course of a month in the summer of 2014, but has remained a talking point ever since.

Scannal talks to journalists who covered the events at the time, including Fiona Looney, who managed to eke a successful play out of the real-life madness.

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“Bhí an scéal ar nós Sobal-Dráma,  bhí na heilemintí go léir ann!” (It had all the elements of a soap opera), says Looney.

Journlalist Bernie Ní Fhlatharta adds, “Bhí sé cosúil le bheith ag léamh faoi Brexit, mar bhí an scéal ag athrú beagnach chuile dara lá.” (It was like Brexit.... every second day there was another twist to the story.)

Even as late as last year, Brooks revealed he had not given up on the notion of returning to Croke Park.

Speaking at a show in Nashville he said the whole sorry debacle was "probably the saddest moment of my musical career" and added taht having to refund 400,000 tickets "broke my heart".

"I will tell you this - I believe that things that start should finish so I have 100 per cent make the opportunity available to the people that make the decision in Ireland to get those shows back up and get them running again," he said.

"If and when they say yes I will be there," he added.

Scannal, Tuesday, May 28, 7pm.

Read more: Garth Brooks debacle left me looking like 'an eejit', says promoter Aiken

'If and when they say yes, I will be there'- Garth Brooks still wants to play those Croke Park shows 

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