FROM FEELING BAD for Westlife’s Shane Filan to comparing it with a death in the family, the reaction to the cancellation of Garth Brooks’ five Dublin concerts has arguably been somewhat hyperbolic.
We’ve been taking a look back at some of the boldest statements that have been made over the past 17 hours, since Aiken Promotions confirmed that tomorrow will, indeed, never come.
Fianna Fáil were out of the blocks first, calling it a “bad day for Ireland Inc”, and ready to place blame on a variety of people.
No one should be in any doubt about the damage that has been done here. Ireland is a country that has worked very hard over many years to promote itself as a tourism venue, and until recently we used to understand very well the marketing power of music events packaged under the ‘Live in Dublin’ brand. With this debacle we have shot ourselves in the foot in a pretty spectacular way. This is a bad day for Ireland Inc.
It did not have to come to this.
The Taoiseach was compelled to talk about it in the Dáil, claiming the concerts could have been worth a quarter of a billion euro. That remark, although nobody is quite sure where the figure came from, is now being quoted by international media.
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Dublin Mayor Christy Burke took it to an extreme on the Six One news last night.
This, to me, is like a funeral without a corpse. There’s a sadness throughout the nation.
I feel so sorry for the fans who booked hotels, booked flights. I feel so sorry for the young men and women expecting catering and other jobs.
Promoter Peter Aiken is inconsolable, telling Morning Ireland today that it was embarrassing for him. Last night, he said:
It’s the right decision. We are devastated; it was going to be the biggest musical event, there will never be another artist in my lifetime that’s going to do 400,000 tickets…
He is devastated, he’s down for millions in this deal, if it was any other artist maybe they’d say let’s play the three and recoup some money. He was in it for millions.
Senator Averil Power is now worried about our Rugby World Cup.
With 70,000 overseas ticketholders left disappointed by the cancellations, our reputation as a tourist destination and location for major international events has also been massively damaged. This couldn’t have come at a worse time ahead of Ireland’s bid for the Rugby World Cup.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin went back to teacher mode:
The ultimate cancellation of all five concerts has highlighted a number of problems surrounding the use of Croke Park as a venue for outdoor concerts. I believe that huge lessons need to be learned from all sides.
Junior Minister Joe Costello is laying the blame solely on the artist:
It is difficult to understand why Mr. Brooks made the decision to have no concerts at all, when he was refused only two of the five consecutive concerts sought on the grounds that more than three would be “unacceptable” and “unprecedented.” His determination to have “five or none” smacks of petulance and arrogance, with scant regard for his paying fans.
Mediator Kieran Mulvey told the Irish Independent that the debacle will be world news:
It will be used against us by competing tourist and concert authorities in the future. It will be spun against us. We’ve got an infinite capacity to score own goals.
Boyzone manager, X Factor judge and general pop music aficionado Louis Walsh asked 2FM’s Colm Hayes if it was an April Fool’s joke:
It’s not funny because there are 400,000 disappointed… Everyone is going to suffer because of somebody, somewhere, with red tape.
He also was very much on the side of Peter Aiken and Garth Brooks.
I think it is really, really bad for Ireland. We’re supposed to be a friendly nation… I think it is very unfair that a handful of people can hold a country to ransom.
Walsh also referenced Bob Geldof, adding he may have been right about the Banana Republic. Finally, let’s spare a thought for Westlife.
Shane Filan was meant to be supporting. He’s so disappointed. He’s the most disappointed of anybody I know.
Read more of our Garth Brooks coverage: