It ain’t over ’till it’s over.
On Tuesday, Aiken Promotions, the company presenting Garth Brooks’ five comeback shows at Dublin’s 80,000-seat Croke Park, announced that the July 25-29 concerts were canceled. The word came following several days of intense negotiations that failed to salvage the shows after the Dublin City Council issued a license for only three of the concerts and Brooks declared “it’s five shows or none at all.”
But now it looks like the shows are back on life support as Brooks has clearly not thrown in the towel.
Rolling Stone Country has obtained a copy of a letter Brooks sent to Peter Aiken, head of Aiken Promotions, declaring “I cannot begin to tell you how badly my heart is breaking right now,” over the cancellations. And then he threw a Hail Mary pass: “If there is any chance that the five planned concerts can be salvaged… then we can proceed as planned until the refunds begin… If you think for any reason that the ‘powers that be’ in Ireland can fix this, then I will faithfully go to the last second.” He added that “his guys” are still en route to Dublin, as is the ship with 18 semi-trucks’ worth of staging.
Refunds are scheduled to begin Monday, which gives the Dublin City Council, the mayor, Aiken and all the other conflicting parties five days to try to save the shows, which were estimated to bring $85 million into the Irish economy. An estimated 70,000 of the 400,000 ticket holders were coming from outside of Ireland.
Brooks reiterated in the letter his all-or-nothing decision: “I hope you understand that to play for 400,000 people would be a dream, but to tell 160,000 of those people that they are not welcome would be a nightmare. To do what the city manager suggests (play three shows and not all five) means I agree that is how people should be treated and I just can’t agree with that.”
The superstar closed the letter “All my gratitude, respect, and love to you and Ireland, g.”
Brooks will surely reveal more at his Thursday press conference slated for 12 p.m. ET, which will be carried live on his website, garthbrooks.com. While it is unclear what Brooks will announce, the fact that his camp and Sony Music Nashville both sent out invitations to the press conference would indicate that he is announcing an alliance with the label for future recordings. He is also expected to address his U.S. tour plans.