There’s not long to go until Garth Brooks returns to the stage…
Don’t dust off your Stetson just yet. The country music superstar has cancelled his entire run of Dublin comeback gigs. In December, Brooks, 52, who has sold more than 100 million records, revealed he would be taking to the stage more than 10 years after he last hit the road - much to the delight of his fans. Some 400,000 tickets were snapped up by country music lovers around the globe when tour dates for Ireland were announced in January.
But now he’s got cold feet?
Dublin City Council refused to grant planning permission for two of the five gigs. It cited an agreement between the stadium owners, the Gaelic Athletic Association and residents living in the densely populated area around the stadium that a maximum of three concerts would be held each year in the sports venue.
Why has Brooks cancelled the lot?
After the council ruled that only three of his planned concerts could go ahead, Brooks said that he would play “all or none” of them. The musician, born and raised in Oklahoma, said that to choose which shows to play and which not to, would be “like asking to choose one child over another”.
It’s like Sophie’s Choice all over again…
Since the tour promoter Aiken Promotions announced on Monday that having “exhausted all avenues”, none of the shows would go ahead - crushing fans - an unprecedented row has erupted in Ireland. The chief executive of Dublin’s chamber of commerce, Gina Quin, has estimated that the Irish economy stands to lose €50m (£39.7m) in potential revenue if the concerts, scheduled for the end of this month, don’t go ahead.
What’s the solution?
The situation remains unresolved. Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny has rejected calls for emergency laws to be brought in to allow the concerts to go ahead, as the government risked being accused of “doing down” the rights of residents and interfering with the planning process if it intervened. “It’s a major loss to the country, to the goodwill and good feeling of all those fans of Garth Brooks that this is lost, not to mention the hard economic loss to people here - it’s a mess,” he said.