Friday 24 May 2019

Virtually everyone is to blame for Garth Brooks debacle

Garth Brooks at Croke Park
Garth Brooks at Croke Park
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Two of Garth Brooks’ five Croke Park gigs have been cancelled, with the others reportedly in jeopardy. And as is usually the way, virtually everyone is to blame for this debacle.

Aiken Promotions, for selling approximately eight billion tickets before permission was granted. Dublin City Council, for being so tardy in granting it (or not, as the case may be).

The Croke Park residents, for failing to spot that they were moving in next to a gigantic stadium and then whining all the time about everything.

The GAA, for ignoring the fact that Croker is the natural home for rockin’ good sporting entertainment, not yodelling yokels in large hats.

Garth Brooks, for being inexplicably popular with legions of tin-eared “music” fans.

Country music itself, for existing in the first place. You, probably.

However, perhaps the real villain is our old friend, “the system”. It is faintly ridiculous that tickets can be sold before a concert is officially allowed to go ahead.

Yes, those radio ads always include the disclaimer, “subject to license”, but still. It seems to be putting the cart before the horse, no? And as a good ole’ boy like Garth would be able to tell you, that’s just silly.

This isn’t the first time a daft situation like this has arisen. In 2002, for instance, there were plans to revive the legendary Lisdoonvarna Folk Festival.

Fond memories were disinterred, tickets were sold, mildewed old Christy Moore t-shirts were taken down from that big box in the attic.

Then the license was denied, and they had to move the whole kit and caboodle to the RDS. A folksy, back-to-nature hippie-fest being held inside a converted warehouse? That sounds like a lot of fun.

Would it be possible to restructure this process, so that permission is granted before they start flogging tickets? Are there insurmountable logistical problems with making sure you actually have a product before you begin selling it? It can’t be that hard, surely.

In the meantime, millions of disappointed Garth Brooks fans will be crying into their Wild Turkey and firing shotguns into the air to express their unhappiness, too upset even to concentrate on getting the line-dancing steps right at the weekly hoe-down.

There are no winners here. Well, except for the ticket touts.

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