After much controversy, Oklahoma country music megastar Garth Brooks has canceled five Irish concerts scheduled for later this month that were supposed to herald the start of his long-awaited comeback tour.
The Associated Press reports that all five Dublin concerts were called off today after the battle between venue owners and local residents that became a national furor.
More than 400,000 tickets had been sold for the gigs, due to start at Croke Park stadium on July 25.
The stint had been billed as a “Comeback Special” for Brooks, 52, after more than a decade of semi-retirement.
Brooks was originally scheduled to play two shows, and when the number of performances was increased to cope with demand, some nearby residents complained.
As previously reported, the Dublin City Council last week refused to grant permission for five shows, saying they would cause “an unacceptable level of disruption” for residents and businesses. According to The Boot, the council announced their decision last Thursday, granting outdoor event licenses for the July 25, 26 and 27 shows but denying the licenses for the July 28 and 29 concerts.
That’s the same day that Brooks’ website posted the enigmatic message “The wait is over … 7/7.”
Instead of making a big announcement as expected on Monday, Brooks’ website promised a press conference set for 11 a.m. Oklahoma time this Thursday will be live streamed at garthbrooks.com. Meanwhile, promoters and Brooks’ team reportedly made a last-ditch effort to save the concert series Monday.
The Dublin dispute grew increasingly bitter, sparking a legal bid by some residents to have the shows canceled, and a rival petition calling for them all to go ahead, according to the AP.
Brooks released a statement last week saying he would play five shows or none.
“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another,” he said.
Promoter Peter Aiken said Tuesday that attempts to reach agreement among the feuding parties had failed and “no concerts will take place.”
“It is with great regret that Aiken Promotions today announce that the five concert Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event at Croke Park has been cancelled. No concerts will take place. The ticket return process will be outlined tomorrow. Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event. We are very disappointed for the 400,000 fans who purchased tickets for the Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event,” Aiken said in a statement shared by RollingStone.com.
Ticket-seller Ticketmaster said it would be offering refunds, according to the AP.
Brooks is one of the best-selling musicians in U.S. history, with more than 128 million albums sold, and helped make country music an international phenomenon.
Brooks retired from touring in 2001, saying he wanted to devote himself to his three daughters until each was ready to go to college. In December, he announced on “Good Morning America” plans to launch a comeback tour in 2014 now that his children are grown. His youngest, Allie, graduated high school in May.
The “Garth Brooks Comeback Special Event” was to take place in Dublin in anticipation of Brooks’ world tour.
“In ’97, (when) we were lucky enough to play Croke Park, the stadium was under construction,” Brooks said in a January statement. “130,000-plus of some of the greatest fans in the world. I was quoted then as saying, When this stadium is finished, I would love to come back and try to fill it again — this time to the brink — and we’re back to do just that.”