Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Bruce Springsteen to play Galway Airport…

…but only in the dreams of a Galway county councillor

Where's the stage?

Thu, Feb 11, 2016, 10:23


Talk to any live music promoter and you’ll soon discover that there is one particular character who is the bane of their lives. This is the lad – and it’s always a lad – who has a field or a site or a castle or a building which would be ideal – ideal! – for a festival or one of those big live music gigs which happen here during the summer. The Lad-With-the-Land will pester the promoter morning, noon and night about how this bit of land is potentially the best live music venue in the country and that the promoter should check it out. Oh and it would be ideal for a Bruce Springsteen show, now that The Boss has shown a fondness for playing outside Dublin.

Springsteen is the panacea for all economic ills in Ireland right now. As a second show at Croke Park goes on sale this morning, it’s clear that the New Jersey dude can no wrong. He’s better than a Child of Prague statue, a rub of the relic and a few lit candles to St Anthony combined. As far as the Lad-With-the-Land is concerned, a Springsteen concert is a no-brainer. The man will turn up, play for three and a half hours, pose for selfies with the Lad-With-the-Land and his extended family and the new Celtic Tiger age will kick off in earnest in that peaceful part of Ireland.

The latest Lad-With-the-Land to come up with the Springsteen brainwave is Galway councillor Pearce Flannery. The Fine Gael man proposed at a Galway city council meeting this week that the council investigate hosting a Springsteen concert at the idle Galway Airport site. The Galway Advertiser report by Kernan Andrews reads like a sketch from Killnascully and fair play to the Aiken Promotions’ rep who actually managed to keep a straight face while dealing with enquiries about this.

It’s obvious that we’ve learned nothing from the Garth Brooks at Croke Park fiasco which took over the country in 2014. It’s also obvious that many people still believe the live music industry is some fly-by-night, low-rent operation, rather than the serious business concern it has become.

As far as many are concerned, putting on a live music event in an untested venue featuring an internationally renowned touring star is something which can be done at the drop of a hat. It’s like booking a covers band for a do in the back room of the local pub, though with more ham sandwiches. The councillor expects Springsteen’s team to go ‘hey, fuck yeah, this is AWESOME! Let’s play a big empty concrete airport in the west of Ireland! Peter Aiken, put those tickets on sale now! We’ll fly right in the airport! Oh, the airport is not operational? Look, sure, we’ll land at Knock and roll down the N17!”

Forget about the new event licensing regulations, health and safety, traffic, environmental impact studies, logistics and all of that. Forget about the fact that an act like Springsteen will have planned a tour like this months ago and that there’s absolutely no room on the schedule for an extra date in a completely new site. Who needs that kind of stuff and nonsense when you’re a county councillor who has notions to become the Lad-With-the-Land who brought The Boss to the wild, wild west? Sure, there’s ways and means around that kind of thing – nod, nod, wink, wink – and we’ll have Springsteen playing “Born In the USA” and “Dancing In the Dark” and, ahm, the other song down here in the summer. And posing for selfies. Look, it worked for Michael Lowry down in Thurles. It’s gonna be tropic!