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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 17 September, 2014

Could the Garth gigs be saved? Here are the options…

Meanwhile, solicitor for Croke Park residents claims disgruntled fans considering legal action against promoters.

One possible venue we can - sadly - rule out for the Garth gigs is this Cavan GAA club, that offered up its facilities...
One possible venue we can - sadly - rule out for the Garth gigs is this Cavan GAA club, that offered up its facilities...
Image: Killinkere GAA/PA pics

WHILE THE THUNDER rolls for the promoters of the Garth Brooks concerts, some Irish venues are doing the maths to see if they could host the final two gigs.

Fans of the country comeback star were horrified this morning to learn that Dublin City Council had refused permission for the Monday and Tuesday, 28 and 29 July, concerts to go ahead at Croke Park.

Aiken Promotions had publicised and sold out those two gigs – along with the three that will go ahead on the previous Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Contacted by TheJournal.ie this afternoon, Aiken Promotions staff were “in a meeting” but already the possibility of the gigs being switched to Slane was shot down by its owner Henry Mountcharles.

Slane?

He said “unequivocally, there will not be a show at Slane this year”. This is a blow to Brooks fans who might have hoped that the 80,000-capacity Slane venue could have been the answer. Croke Park has a similar capacity of just over 82,000.

Aviva?

The Aviva stadium in Dublin’s Ballsbridge has a lower capacity than Croker – at 50,000. As our commenter Chris Mansfield notes below, a standing gig at Aviva would host more people, but with maximum capacity of 65,000, it would still leave a lot of Garth fans disappointed.

The other issue with the Aviva is that MCD – rival music promoters to Aiken Promotions – tends to have performing rights there, and that would have to be negotiated carefully.

Punchestown?

Now, Punchestown racecourse has suggested that they might step in. Or at least, they are willing to – but fear it might be too late. They have just sent out a statement which reads:

In light of this morning’s events regarding the cancellation of Garth Brooks concerts Punchestown racecourse have released the following statement (italics are TheJournal.ie’s):

Punchestown racecourse and venue would be delighted to accommodate the cancelled Garth Brooks concerts and facilitate the disappointed fans. As a venue, Punchestown has run dozens of very successful concerts over the last number of years and is recognised as one of Europe’s finest concert venues.The local statutory authorities and stakeholders are extremely supportive of concerts at Punchestown and it is estimated that two such events would generate €15 million for the local economy.Unfortunately there are a number of logistical and legal issues outside Punchestown’s control that would be very difficult to resolve in the short term. That said we are available to do everything possible to accommodate the disappointed Garth Brooks fans.

Páirc Úi Chaoimh?

The GAA are not ruling out the availability of their major Cork venue according to this Examiner journalist:

After all, Bruce Springsteen played there in July last year, right?

However, that stadium has a capacity of just over 43,000 so even if by some miracle the Garth gig rig could be taken down, transferred between Dublin and Cork and reassembled in the space of 15 hours, at least half of the ticketholders would be very disappointed folks. Same goes for Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary, where capacity is closer to the Aviva at 53,000.

The Phoenix Park?

Europe’s largest urban park, the Phoenix Park, has hosted large-scale concerts and events – from the arrival of Pope John Paul II in 1979 to more recent – and sometimes controversial – gigs.

To hold an event here requires an application to the Office of Public Works – and also, the capacity is generally limited to between 2,000 and 10,000 for concerts and other commercial events (see condition #2 here for more information). There is a possibility of the Park holding one large-scale concert a year, at which 50,000 can attend – but that has to be completely FREE of charge to punters.

Killinkere Gaelic Football Club?

Adorable but unlikely. They’ve recently installed a toilet and “there’ll be fields aplenty to abandon cars in”. Read here.

Continue following TheJournal.ie‘s updates here for the latest on the Garth gigs.

Meanwhile….

The solicitor Anthony Fay, who represents some of the Croke Park residents objecting to the continuous run of gigs at the grounds, has claimed that disgruntled fans are now “considering taking action against the promoters for the losses and inconvenience this has caused them”.

TheJournal.ie has contacted Aiken Promotions to ask if they received any such direct complaints from fans. Any response will be added to this article if received.

Better news for train customers

Good on Iarnród Éireann – it has just confirmed that customers who booked rail travel to attend any Garth Brooks concerts which are cancelled will be refunded for their train bookings in full. They say:

Customers who booked with us in good faith expecting concerts to take place will not be left out of pocket.

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