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Saturday 21 October 2017

As Croker still undecided, Aiken insists 'there is nowhere to go'

The sheer scale of a Garth Brooks show means it could not be moved to another venue, promoter Peter Aiken has said.

"You just couldn't move it, the sheer scale of this show couldn't be moved," explained Mr Aiken of Aiken Promotions.

Nevertheless, the company is "going to keep trying" and "at the moment there is still a little bit of hope", he said.

"There will be an official announcement in the early part of next week, it has to come to an end."

Mr Aiken outlined his personal disappointment at Dublin City Council's decision to only allow three of the five planned Brooks concerts at Croke Park.

"I am a fan [of Brooks]. I have met him a hundred times. He is as good a guy as he looks. He's a good guy, a good person and a good man.

"He's nine months planning this, you could imagine what he is hurting."

Mr Aiken admitted he was "completely blind sided" by the council ruling, adding: "I never came away from a meeting and said 'I think we are in serious trouble here'."

Mr Aiken said the council did raise concerns but this is the norm for every event.

"I have never been in for a licence application when people have said 'yes, there's no problems with this'."

Despite alternative venues being named like the Aviva Stadium across the city in Ballsbridge or the smaller RDS nearby; Pairc Ui Chaoimh, Cork and Semple Stadium in Thurles. Mr Aiken said: "There is nowhere to go."

Explaining why tickets were sold in advance of approval being granted, Aiken Promotions said: "It is the standard practice in Ireland to inform the licensing authority, then to announce an event and then to put the tickets on sale in advance of a detailed licence application begin submitted."

It added: "After the press conference on January 20, 2014, Garth Brooks met with Aiken Promotions ... for a number of hours in Croke Park outlining plans for the shows.

"Garth Brooks chatted through lots of ideas he had regarding staging and how the show should look. He then went to the various levels of Croke Park and took photos of where the stage would be plotted."

hnews@herald.ie

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