#GarthBrooks: GAA needs to get better at being good neighbours.

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So what have we learned from the Garth Brooks debacle? The most screamingly obvious thing is that with 400,000 people buying tickets, country and western is the thing for a significant proportion of the Irish people. And the other is that this cancellation is going to hurt a lot of people and a lot of ‘indigenous business’.

Of course even within that most popular of genres no one else is likely to fill Croke Park for five nights in a row, and the man himself is still saying he doesn’t want to tell 160,000 of them they cannot come.

But you get a hint of the shock even in the chair of the most vocal of the residents groups Eamon O’Brien around Croke Park who clearly had seen the negotiation as some kind of informal bargaining process of the type you see at country marts all over the island north and south.

It’s easy to see how the residents feel put upon. Even on the ‘thin end of the wedge’ principle (Croke Park had already used up two of their allotted nights on New One Direction earlier in the year) they were pretty much being given nothing but the opportunity to bargain down from four over the allocation to two.

As it happens, that was the dealbreaker than even the Labour Relations Commission could not crack. And the irony is that this is a multimillion pound adventure bring revenue into the country as well as in from the rest of country.

Fianna Fail have proposed draft legislation to grant ministerial powers to override local arrangements in exceptional circumstances. That would certainly unblock the plumbing in the short term.

But in the longer term if large organisations like the GAA want to raise large amounts of cash from mega events like this one, they will need to get better at being good neighbours.

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  • Jag

    “New” Direction, Mick? You hipster you!

    Ireland already has the GAA facilities to host 80,000 events, Semple Stadium, Pairc Ui Chaoimh and Croke Park. They each have annual limits of non-sporting events. Garfie could have had three concerts in Crokers and two in Semple/Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

    Apparently, he’s gathering some of his dolls back into his pram and is giving the DCC another chance to change its mind. Given the refunds won’t start hitting the fans’ accounts until next Monday, there is still another four days to thrash out a solution, Given Garfie’s finances and sunk costs (no pun on shipping intended!), I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing three gigs at Crokers after all, and perhaps a couple or more elsewhere. It’s not like he has other dates to stop him staying the entire month of August if needs be. And his heart is with Ireland….

  • Michael Henry

    Garth Brooks is on a American chat show tomorrow evening about this issue -( 5 pm our time )-I am sure he will be seen as the victim of Irish bureaucracy on that show-
    I can not see Brooks giving up all 5 dates and I suspect he will play 3 of those gigs for his fans-( Friday / Saturday and Sunday concerts )- the show must go on-and he is not shipping his music stuff over to Ireland for nothing-

  • mickfealty

    Embarrassing, now corrected…

  • http://alaninbelfast.blogspot.com alaninbelfast

    What do we learn?

    5 concerts cancelled & 400,000 unhappy people; lots of grumping & gurning but no parades, no protests, no police, no political threats …

  • Jag

    RTE claims that Garth would personally lose €10m if the entire tour is cancelled. Artie Fufkin, aka Peter Aiken would get €1m+ and the GAA would get €3m. RTE doesn’t say where the remaining c€16m would go (ticket sales of €27m plus merchandising, sponsorship etc) but I’d guess most goes to Garth’s operation and generously covers equipment, transport, set-up.

    If Garfie gathers his dolls back into his pram, I really do think we’ll see him in July for three Croker concerts, and I’d guess he has the potential to pull a win from the whole debacle by hastily arranging 2+ concerts elsewhere.

  • Comrade Stalin

    When the news about the cancellation came out I suspected it was a ploy to focus minds, and Garth’s leaked “letter” to Aiken is another phase in the plan (who really believes that he communicates by email over a matter of €10m?). Behind the scenes I imagine the GAA, Aiken and others are putting pressure on the government to come up with some way to sort this out.

    I’m sure we’ll hear that the concerts are back on by the weekend.

  • Michael Henry

    Looks like all 5 concerts are back on with the residents agreement- the Friday Saturday and Sunday ones will go ahead as normal but the Monday and Tuesday night concerts will be put of until Garth Brooks ends his world tour-( the emergency Dublin council meeting on this issue has now been called off this evening )- it looks like the shows will go on- a bit delayed for two of the dates but you can’t expect everything-

  • fordprefect

    I feel sorry for all the fans of Garth Brooks (I’m not one) having to put up with all this, but I’m sick listening about it! It wasn’t a tsunami or an earthquake, no one was injured or killed or anything, so please give over about it!

  • Zeno

    Brookes needs to learn that he can’t give ultimatums to governments.

  • barnshee

    Use some of the income to “buy out” the near neighbours and over time remove the neighbours and problem