Monday 20 May 2019

'In areas like this he's huge – rural Ireland tends to love the whole country thing'

Disappointed Garth Brooks fans in Tallow, Co Waterford: Mossie Moore, Treasa Casey, John Pratt, Margo Pratt, Linda McCormack and Rosemary Pescod
Disappointed Garth Brooks fans in Tallow, Co Waterford: Mossie Moore, Treasa Casey, John Pratt, Margo Pratt, Linda McCormack and Rosemary Pescod

John Pratt, from Tallow, in Co Waterford, went the extra mile to get his hands on tickets for himself and wife Margo

'When we discovered Garth Brooks was coming to Ireland we were thrilled. We'd just missed out on getting tickets the last time he was here and we were determined we wouldn't be left empty-handed this time around.

"We've always enjoyed his music – it's hard not to.

"Margo has limited mobility so I tried to contact the designated phone-line set up to book tickets for people with special needs but that was an ordeal in itself.

"Rarely the phone-line was answered and if it was I'd be put on hold until eventually the line would go dead.

"I reckon by the time I got to speak with someone I'd made at least 50 phone calls. Eventually we got it sorted and we couldn't wait to get to Dublin for the concert – we had tickets for the Sunday night performance.

"We were gearing up for a special night in Croke Park.

"I was annoyed that the line for those with disabilities hadn't been properly manned and contacted Aiken Promotions about it – but still the excitement was building for the gig itself.

"Friends from around the area who were die-hard Garth Brooks supporters sought my help in getting tickets and where I could advise, I did.

"In areas like this he's huge, of course – rural Ireland tends to love Garth Brooks and the whole country thing.

"Once news started to emerge that some of the concerts might be in jeopardy I said to myself 'this obviously will get sorted because hundreds of thousands of people have bought tickets' – but what's happened subsequently has been shocking.

"As the days went on, I did think someone would step in to sort the whole thing out – I think people in towns and villages across Ireland are hoping the same.

"Some people around Tallow who had purchased tickets for the concerts are particularly angry and with good reason.

"But there is still a bit of hope.

"On a personal level, it's really so disappointing for Margo and I. Anyone with a disability just wants to get on with things and experience the same kind of occasions as everyone else.

"She's light-hearted and won't dwell on it too much, but still, it's not good enough."

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