American country legend Garth Brooks has officially canceled five concerts he was to give at Dublin’s Croke Park at the end of this month, leaving 400,000 fans in an uproar.
The cancellations were announced today in a statement released by Brooks’ promoter, Aiken.
"It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the five concert Garth Brooks comeback special event at Croke Park has been canceled. No concerts will take place," it said.
"The ticket return process will be outlined tomorrow.
"Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event.”
Peter Aiken, head of the promotion company, flew to the US this morning to meet with Brooks in a final attempt to save the concert run, but it was to no avail.
The country singer will host a press conference later today in Nashville.
Brooks is immensely popular in Ireland and the five-night run was billed as his “Comeback Special.” All 400,000 of the concert’s tickets sold out in record time.
One hundred thousand of the tickets had been sold to concert-goers from outside of Ireland, which led tourism officials to hail Brooks as Ireland’s next secret weapon in recent months. To put this in perspective, the population of Dublin City is 527,600.
Earlier this year, residents of the area around the Croke Park stadium, which is home to Ireland’s GAA games and has a capacity of 80,000, launched a campaign to prevent licences from being issued for the concerts.
An agreement signed by the Dublin City Council in 2009 stipulated that no more than three concerts are to be held at Croke Park in a given year. The addition of the five Garth Brooks concerts would have brougth the 2014 total to eight.
On July 3, the Dublin City Council announced that it would only give license to three of the scheduled concerts, on the nights of July 25, 26 and 27.
In response, Brooks issued an all-or-nothing ultimatum.
“For us, it is five shows or none at all,” he said in a statement released following the council’s decision.
“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."
Ticketmaster.ie will be issuing its refunds plan tomorrow.
This young fan might be the most disappointed:
Fans have been very vocal on Twitter:
Disgraceful that a country still in recession can be so stupid as to turn it's nose up at millions of € for it's economy! #GarthBrooks— Cathal O'Reilly (@cotz91) July 8, 2014
I hear there is already a 7% reduction in Americans claiming Irish ancestry due to the damage caused by #GarthBrooks on "Brand Ireland".— Peter Ferguson (@Humanisticus) July 8, 2014
Garth Brooks fans right now. #GarthBrooksCrokePark pic.twitter.com/amgc66LOlr— Gerard Magee (@MageeGerard) July 8, 2014
The mother is only devastated that garth brooks has cancelled croker �� have to listen to her giving out for the next two years! #great— Tara Homan (@Tarsh2108) July 8, 2014
Ireland's resilience tested again. Saipan. Thierry Henry. BOD & Lions Tour. Eurovision. Miley & Fidelma in hay. #GarthBrooks #WeWillOvercome— Elaine Byrne (@ElaineByrne) July 8, 2014
All over the country, those cowboy boots, stetsons and denim waistcoats from the 90s are being pushed back under the bed... #garthbrooks— Aldi Ireland (@Aldi_Ireland) July 8, 2014
The sheer devastation of Garth Brooks not coming to Ireland is unbearable </3 #GarthBrooks #devastated— Emma Delaney (@emma_del_95) July 8, 2014