Having admitted that, despite selling 400,000 tickets at €65.45 each (on an island of 6.4m people), he didn’t ‘feel welcome’ in Ireland, Garth Brooks has now followed up with his all or nothing threat over his Dublin shows with a cancellation of all five. A reputed total of €26m in tickets had been sold. Presumably, Mr Brooks share of that money would have been small consolation for the, eh, poverty of the love he was feeling from Ireland. Even a graduated response to the objections by the local residents group would presumably have seen him get a reasonable share of the €15m+ from three concerts.
According to the Irish Times, a ship with his equipment had already left by sea yesterday. Whether it can now turn back in time isn’t clear (perhaps some sort of diplomatic incident is now in the offing).
The real action will come tomorrow when the promoters announce how they intend to refund tickets. Presuming the anecdotal claims of large numbers of tickets changing hands privately are at least partially true. Any refund mechanism that simply refunds the money to the original credit/debit card that purchased it will provoke an interesting reaction (since, technically, the ticket can’t be sold on). So if you were a chancer who gambled on buying tickets and selling them on at a mark-up, you’ll now get an added windfall of your original money back (if you can avoid refunding the person you gouged them on to).
The wider hit will be to the hospitality industry with many hotels and flights booked. The background to the cancellation is the interaction of the planning laws and concert promotion. Many concerts are advertised and sold prior to acquisition of planning permission, with potential for a more convoluted matrix of issues arising, such as at Croke Park where there are existing agreements with residents groups (eg see some background here). And it’s not like the very real prospect of planning permission not being secured for all five concerts wasn’t clear back in February.
This post should be peppered with clever references to obscure and maybe not-so-obscure Garth Brooks lyrics, but I’m like the Antrim football and hurling teams, I’d intended to avoid Croke Park like the plague.