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Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Croke Park Disagreement


The Garth Brooks' concerts have been cancelled. All five of them. But the furore is still continuing: should the Taoiseach intervene, would daytime concerts be a possibility? Meanwhile, El Divo at the centre of it all has stamped his cowboy boot and refused to play because he won’t get everything he wants. 

Whatever your opinion of Mr Brooks and his music, it has been estimated that the economy will miss out on a €250 million boost from the concert through ticket taxes, travel, hotel revenues, food receipts etc. And 400,000 people are now bitterly disappointed because 373 local residents objected. Let’s hope the fans manage to find a positive outlet for their frustration.

Muhammed Ali v. Al Blue Lewis at Croke Park, 19 July 1972

And on the other hand, you do need to appreciate the residents’ point of view. The concerts would involve five nights of crowds, loud booming music, yells, screams, blocked roads, all sorts of inconvenience for them. Peter Aiken, the organizer of the Irish concerts, had agreed to contribute €500,000 to the community fund instead of the customary  €100,000, but it was not enough to ease the residents’ concerns.

A brass marching band in Croke Park, 17 March 1971

Perhaps the residents had just decided to make a stand when the addition of extra nights became a concern to them and it all escalated out of hand. Maybe it’s a case of urban sophisticates looking down on the musical taste of an audience that would mostly come from outside the Pale. Or maybe the locals are really concerned that the middle-aged fan base will not be able to stop themselves from breaking into line dances on Jones’s Road and break the tarmac into smithereens with their synchronised spurs. Who knows? Musicians and their fans can be awfully anarchic at times.

Dickie Rock mobbed by fans, 26 April1966