Brooks matinee compromise offer 'not feasible' - promoter

Updated 9pm

A. proposal to hold two cancelled Garth Brooks concerts as matinees on Saturday July 26 and Sunday July 27 will "not be feasible", Aiken promotions has said.

Hopes had been earlier raised after Dublin City Council told the singer he could have his five shows at Croke Park, but only if he put on two matinees.

Council chief executive Owen Keegan put forward the idea after Brooks threw down an all or nothing ultimatum over the refusal to grant all the concert licences for Croke Park stadium.

“It will be a matter for Aiken Promotions and Garth Brooks to decide if they wish to pursue this suggestion,” the council said in a statement issued earlier tonight.

The country music superstar, with more than 130 million album sales in the US, had earlier tried to influence the planners by saying he would swim, fly or crawl to Ireland to beg Taoiseach Enda Kenny to get his cancelled comeback back on.

Announcing his return to the stage and studio during a press conference today from Nashville, Tennessee, the singer lashed out at the concert planning and licensing system in Ireland after his controversial five-night run in Dublin was pulled two weeks from showtime.

City bosses have only given the green light for three nights over the last weekend in July at Croke Park stadium leaving 160,000 fans at home and abroad with no show.

“If the prime minister (Taoiseach) himself wants to talk to me, I will crawl, swim of fly over there this weekend and sit in front of him,” the star pleaded.

“I will drop to my knees and beg for those 400,000 people to just have fun.”

The top selling US singer, who turned his back on touring to raise his family in Oklahoma 13 years ago, said he did not have a clue what went wrong with the Dublin comeback.

It is not clear whether the option of three nights and two matinees over the last weekend in July will be entertained by Brooks.

Fielding questions on his comeback and the scuppered plans for Ireland in a streamed press conference, the singer suggested the daytime shows would not be as good a performance as anything at night.

Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions is said to be considering the three plus two matinees deal but it is unlikely Brooks will agree.

This was the singer’s initial thoughts about playing twice in the one day when it was broached in Nashville.

“Matinees, I don’t have a problem with matinees. I’m going to tell you though, sticking 160,000 people out in the middle of the day, I don’t know if I’m worried about them or me more, to tell you the truth, because I’m getting older,” he said.

“I don’t want to give them a half ass show. I want to give them everything that Garth Brooks has.

“If we get to shows four and five and they go ’well it sucked’ as long as they say ’the guy gave everything he had left’ that’s all I can ask for.”

But on a more positive note he added: “I personally will do whatever it takes except cancelling on people.”

The shipping operation to bring the unique stage and set for the Croke Park events to Ireland was not pulled despite all suggestions from the Brooks camp that he would not go-ahead with shows unless it was all five.

The singer said for Dublin he had planned to bring “Superman to the show”.

He described the set up as a one-off and monstrous, including a video screen 255 feet wide and 20 feet tall, and needing 12 days pre-loading and five days heavy loading.

Clearly frustrated by the saga, Brooks branded the Irish concert licensing system flawed and called for it to be shelved as a one-off for him and his fans.

While he later tempered his remarks he remained convinced his run of shows should be treated as the exception and someone in a position of power should overrule the city’s planning chiefs.

“The system is flawed,” the singer said.

“It’s not my country to say that so let me take that back. It’s my opinion that the Irish system got some weight on it and buckled.”

The only other time concert promoters in Ireland can recall a licence for a major entertainment event being refused was 11 years ago when the renewed Lisdoonvarna Festival was blocked by the county council.

All other major ticketing events are sold subject to licence with local planners ruling on the final green light close to the date.

Brooks and the promoters sold 400,000 tickets at about 65 euro a head – €26m.

He said he was looking for a simple fix.

He said at all stages in the planning, including monthly meetings since the comeback was announced in January, no issues were thrown up by the council and the all-clear was given on safety, rigging, staff.

“The reason why it’s a dark cloud, and I can tell you this honestly, anyone in Ireland, anyone on the planet is sad about this you are not one billionth as sad as I am,” he said.

“I’m the real loser in this one. I’m the guy out the greatest experience of his life.”

Dublin City Council statement in full:

Dublin City Council granted an Event Licence in respect of three Garth Brooks concerts to be held on Friday 25 July, Saturday 26 July and Sunday 27 July 2014.

“A condition of the Licence requires that an updated Event Management Plan be submitted by the promoter, which outlines any required changes associated with the granting of the three concerts under the Licence, including an updated production and works schedule. The updated Plan must be approved by the City Council.

“Following a meeting this morning between Peter Aiken of Aiken Promotions and Owen Keegan, Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, the City Council has agreed to a proposal from Aiken Promotions designed to break the impasse that has arisen.

“Under the proposal the City Council will consider an updated Event Management Plan, to be submitted in accordance with the Licence, whereby the three concerts will proceed but the Saturday and Sunday concerts will start earlier to facilitate separate matinee audiences on these two days. This will allow everybody who bought a ticket to see Garth Brooks.

“The Council is satisfied that the event licensing procedure was applied correctly in this particular case by the City Council and that the decision reached was appropriate and balanced having regard to all the competing interests.

“However, in response to the disappointment of ticket holders who purchased tickets in good faith for the cancelled Monday and Tuesday concerts and in light of concerns that these ticket holders could turn up on the other days creating security and public safety concerns the Council has agreed, following consultation with An Garda Siochana, to consider a revised Event Management Plan prepared on the basis outlined above.

“It will be a matter for Aiken Promotions and Garth Brooks to decide if they wish to pursue this suggestion.”

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