Garth Brooks has disappointed legions of fans by cancelling his announced, five-show Irish comeback concert tour. The country music superstar, who has been in semi-retirement for the last 13 years, was scheduled to play July 25-29 in Dublin, Ireland at the Croke Park Stadium, which can accommodate more than 80,000 patrons. These shows were scheduled to be the singer and songwriter’s first large-scale public performances since announcing in December 2013 that he planned to resume touring in 2014.
As a result of the cancelled tour dates, more than 400,000 concert ticket holders were left in disbelief when the promoter of the country superstar’s five sold-out shows in Dublin announced Tuesday that the concerts have been cancelled after the city’s council denied to grant permits for two of the five shows. Brooks’ five-show Irish comeback concert tour was sold out within days after tickets went up for sale.
Dublin City Council last week refused to grant permits for two of the five gigs planned for the Croke Park Stadium on July 28th and 29th, which lead to Garth Brooks’ Irish comeback concert tour dates being cancelled. The singer had previously issued an ultimatum to the council that his comeback tour was a ‘all or nothing’ proposition. If he could not play all five planned shows, no concerts would be played and the tour dates would be cancelled. When the council announced it would not reverse its decision on granting the permits, Brooks followed through with his threat and promptly cancelled all five of the planned Irish comeback tour dates.
The council stated its decision was due to concerns over noise and traffic congestion, illegal parking, and potential disruptive behavior. Moreover, the council went on to contend that 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 weeknights, was “unprecedented” for Croke Park Stadium.
In response to the decision, Brooks had issued his ultimatum and went on to explain: “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.”
There were efforts over the weekend focused on reaching an agreement with the singer to play the three permitted dates on July 25th, 26th, and 27th. However, Brooks’ ultimatum, combined with pending legal action in the Irish High Court, lead to a breakdown in negotiations. Injunction proceedings were lodged in the High Court on Monday aimed at preventing the three concerts licensed by the Dublin City Council from going ahead.
Other factors that lead to Garth Brooks’ Irish comeback concert tour dates being cancelled included the uncertainty surrounding whether or not he would be able to play at all, as well as no other appropriate venues that could accommodate the large-scale nature of the concert dates. In addition to the pending legal proceedings and no known decision date on the legal action, the country superstar had also watched the live webstream of Dublin City Council’s meeting on Monday, where the council chief executive confirmed he would not reverse the decision to refuse permits for two of the concerts. Moreover, there were no other appropriate venues that could accommodate the large-scale nature of the concert dates. Ultimately, Brooks became disillusioned by the lack of certainty over whether he could perform at all and decided to cancel all of the planned Irish tour dates.
There were mixed reactions to the tour cancellation dates from Irish residents and business groups. Many were “shocked and surprised” to hear Brooks decided to cancel all five concerts and expressed concern over the negative effects the cancellation will have on the economy and tourism, as well as the country’s brand. Meanwhile, fans of Brooks, such as Ann Thompson of Londonderry, who bought 12 tickets between her and a friend, said the event should have been better organized and the cancellation of all five of his gigs has left her “devastated”.
Garth Brooks has disappointed legions of fans by cancelling his announced, five-show Irish comeback concert tour. The country music superstar walked away from touring while he was one of the most popular musicians in the world. Brooks has been in semi-retirement since 2001, when he walked away from the limelight to focus on raising his three daughters and stated that he would remain a full-time father until they were ready for college. During his semi-retirement, Brooks has hosted several benefit performances and reached a deal with Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas billionaire and businessman, to play solo acoustic shows several times each year, as long as those shows were scheduled around his domestic commitments. While Irish fans and tourism is left reeling from the cancelled tour dates, Brooks’ official website posted a message on Monday announcing the live streaming of a press conference the singer will hold on Thursday in Nashville.
By Leigh Haugh