Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Are fans reaching the limit with summer concerts?

This may be the summer when Ireland’s love affair with the outdoor show begins to wane. While shows are still being added – The Killers are the latest act to announce an Irish visit this summer – the sold-out signs …

Fri, Apr 4, 2008, 09:05

   

This may be the summer when Ireland’s love affair with the outdoor show begins to wane.

While shows are still being added – The Killers are the latest act to announce an Irish visit this summer – the sold-out signs are not going up with the same frequency as in previous years.

Both Bruce Springsteen and Celine Dion have sold out their respective Dublin shows, while two of the three Lenny Cohen dates are already shut-outs. But there are still tickets on sale for Radiohead, Boyzone, Prince, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Iggy Pop, Bon Jovi and many others.

There will also be some notable no-shows this summer. The Midlands festival will not be returning to Co Westmeath, and there is no word yet on Garden Party, though the one- day Lovebox event is expected to take place in July at Malahide Castle.

This week, the promoters of the Beach Party in Portrush, an event which saw Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx perform in previous years, confirmed that the festival would not be happening in 2008. Promoter Gary McGuigan blamed this on “a lack of something appropriate in the short pre-summer season window in which it is possible for us to utilise the site”.

The signs are that demand for outdoor events may have levelled off, with audiences beginning to question both high ticket prices and unenticing bills.

For example, much of the criticism from fans directed at this year’s Oxegen and Electric Picnic festivals focused on the bills. Tickets are still on sale for both events.

It’s not just in Ireland that audiences are beginning to baulk at ticket prices. Last summer, for example, a five-concert series called The Social took place in New York’s East Hamptons featuring Prince, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty and James Taylor.

The cost of tickets was $15,000 and the promoters hoped it would appeal to well-heeled concert-goers. But that potential audience went elsewhere or blagged their tickets for free. The promoters ended up nursing huge losses and the event has been canned.