All five Garth Brooks concerts scheduled for Dublin later this month have been cancelled.
Concert organiser Aiken Promotions said it made the announcement regarding the Croke Park gigs with “great regret”.
“No concerts will take place,” the company said in a statement posted on its website. “Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event.”
More than 400,000 tickets were sold for the concerts and the promoter said it was “very disappointed” for the fans who intended to go.
Dublin City Council last week refused licences for two of the gigs planned for the stadium on July 28th and 29th.
It said this was due to fears of noise, traffic disruption, illegal parking and “potential antisocial behaviour”.
The “scale, magnitude and number” of concerts, with an expected attendance of in excess of 80,000 people per night over five consecutive nights, three of them being week nights, was “unprecedented” for Croke Park Stadium, the council said.
In response to the decision, Brooks had said he would play five concerts or none.
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another. However this plays out, Ireland has my heart and always will” ,” he said.
Efforts over the weekend focused on reaching agreement that the singer would play the three permitted dates on July 25th, 26th and 27th.
Kieran Mulvey, who was a mediator for negotiations between Croke Park residents and the GAA/Croke Park stadium, said Brooks was watching the live webstream of Dublin City Council’s meeting yesterday, where it was stated that there was no going back on the decision not to grant two shows a licence.
“We couldn’t even guarantee him (Garth Brooks) the three concerts because of the legal action seeking to overturn the council decision in court Thursday,” he said.
“Ireland was going to be a big feature in Garth Brooks World Tour, which he’s announcing on Thursday...We really wanted him to come for the three but we had to tell him about legal action being taken in the courts. He wanted to know when would he know the outcome of that? All we could say is ‘we don’t know’.”
Mr Mulvey said the head of Aiken Promotions, Peter Aiken, decided against travelling to the US in a last ditch effort to convince the singer to play the three dates after conversations over the phone.
In a statement tonight, Dublin City Council said it was “very disappointed at Aiken Promotions’ decision not to proceed with the three Garth Brooks concerts that had been licensed for Croke Park”.
It continued: “Dublin City Council hopes that Aiken Promotions will reconsider its decision. Once again, we would like to reiterate that Dublin City Council granted a licence for three concerts.”
The council said it had “ sympathy for those ticket holders who purchased tickets for the performances”.
Ticketmaster said it was working on a plan “to make the cancellation process as simple and convenient as possible for customers.
It said the “scale of this operation is unprecedented in the Irish entertainment industry and therefore we would ask customers to continue to be patient while we finalise our plan.”
Full details of the plan for refunds would be published tomorrow, it said.
Colm Stephens, who chaired a recent public meeting entitled “Stop the Croke Park Concert Madness”, said the first reaction of residents to the news was to think of fans who have been “left in the lurch”.
“We take no pleasure in this. There has to be an end to selling tickets before a licence has been granted for an event,” he said. “What has happened should never happen again. Croke Park now has to do what they have promised and consult with residents before tickets for an event are sold.”
Croke Park Streets Committee chairman Eamon O’Brien said he was “shocked and surprised” to hear Brooks decided to cancel all five concerts.
The group made one of hundreds of objections sent to council in relation to granting the licence for the concerts in Croke Park.
“I don’t really understand why it was five or nothing,” he said. “They should have applied for a licence before they sold the tickets. Many residents groups have been fighting for the rights for their community for years.”
The GAA and Croke Park Stadium said they were not given any indication from the council that a licence for any of the concerts was likely to be refused.
“The GAA shares the intense disappointment of the 400,000 people who have purchased tickets,” they said in a statement.
Gardaí at Mountjoy confirmed they were carrying out an investigation into a “small number of alleged forged signatures” in relation to objections against granting a licence for the concerts at Croke Park.