Brooks committed to play five concerts at Croke Park if ‘powers that be’ step in

Letter to promoter indicates desire to perform before 400,000 fans

An “Unmissable Croke Park” poster on Cuffe Street in Dublin, “the True Irish Experience”, which takes on a new meaning in light of the Garth Brooks saga.   Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

An “Unmissable Croke Park” poster on Cuffe Street in Dublin, “the True Irish Experience”, which takes on a new meaning in light of the Garth Brooks saga. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Thu, Jul 10, 2014, 01:01

Country singer Garth Brooks has said he remains keen to play all five concerts originally planned for Croke Park if they could be “salvaged” by the end of the month. In a letter to promoter Peter Aiken yesterday, Brooks said it would be a “dream” to play before 400,000 people at Croke Park at the end of the month.

“I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now,” he wrote. “If you think for any reason that the ‘powers that be’ in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second.”

Brooks watched the live webstream of Dublin City Council’s meeting last Monday. The council has refused licences for two of the five concerts due to concerns over noise, traffic disruption, illegal parking and potential antisocial behaviour.The scale, magnitude and number of concerts, with an expected attendance of more than 80,000 people a night over five consecutive nights, were “unprecedented” for Croke Park, said the council.Brooks said he could not agree with the decision to allow only three concerts on July 25th, 26th and 27th.

A ship carrying his stage equipment was still en route to Ireland, he added. “It [playing three shows and not all five] means I agree that is how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that,” he wrote. “If you tell me, ‘Garth, thanks but it is over’, I will cease my efforts and bring our people and gear back to the States.” Brooks asked Mr Aiken to let him know how to proceed and signed off: “All my gratitude, respect and love to you and Ireland, g”.

Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications John O’Mahony said the GAA and Aiken Promotions had accepted invitations to appear at a meeting of the committee, probably tomorrow. He said council chief executive Owen Keegan had yet to reply to a similar invitation.

Mr O’Mahony said the main goal of the committee was to establish the chain of events that led to all five concerts being cancelled. “There’s no winners in this. You have the businesses, the fans, the hotels, the residents, they are all losing out. And obviously the promoter too,” he said.

“Why did it get to this level and we need to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” he added. “This needs to be done quickly, we need clarity. The crossfire of blame game in the last 48 hours has been phenomenal.”

Mr O’Mahony said it was also part of the committee’s remit to discuss the knock-on effects to tourism. However, he said it looked like it was “too late at this stage to rescue the concerts”.

Earlier in the day Ticketmaster announced refunds for tickets and service fees would be available from next Tuesday. Managing director Keith English said the company understood the disappointment of Brooks fans.

“Having reviewed the huge task at hand, we believe the process we have outlined is the. . . most efficient for fans. The scale of this operation is unprecedented and therefore we would ask customers to continue to be patient,” he said.

Meanwhile, High Court proceedings which were lodged on Monday by a local resident to stop any of the concerts going ahead have been withdrawn.