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Mixed reaction on streets to country star’s five Croker gigs

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The news that Garth Brooks will play five gigs in Croke Park next September met with a mixed reaction on the streets surrounding the venue.

Due to the demand, promoter Aiken yesterday ann- ounced an additional three Brooks concerts. The shows will take place on September 9, 10, 11, 16 and 17.

Local fan Susan Mangan was trying to secure tickets on her phone all morning, but with huge demand for the gigs she kept getting disconnected from the queue and having to call back.

“I’ve a ladder out the back. I’ll climb over the wall if I have to get in,” she said. “It’s great for the fans and great for the local community and the business it’s going to bring along this street.

“I think the five gigs is a done deal now, but I still think the people that did have issues need to see those addressed. It’s about working with Croke Park.

“We’re neighbours. There’s no divide in our community. There would have been back in 2014, but now hopefully it’s not like that any more. We’re moving forward.

“These gigs are going to bring a much-needed boost to the local area and to the economy. It’s going to bring people from all over the world. It’s good to see the real fans actually going to get to see him and what that’s going to bring.”

On Clonliffe Road, shop manager Jack Hejduk said he was delighted to hear there would be five gigs.

“The income coming from those events is crucial for our business,” he said.

“We are desperate for money at the moment because we are in crisis with Covid and everything.

“So these kinds of events are always a big boost for our business, and especially Garth Brooks, who’s well-known and he’s loved by local people.

“We’re looking forward to it. The news of five gigs was surprising to us, but as a local business contributing to local society and local community, we are delighted.”

Just up the road, local resident Geoff Barker was less enthusiastic.

“I’m not really happy, to be honest. I mean, we didn’t want it in the first place in 2014 and so him trying to push for five a second time is just a joke, to be honest,” he said.

“We opposed it then and we still oppose it now. Two have been agreed, and that’s plenty. Pushing for five is just too much. There are other artists coming too. We have enough.

“They’re only supposed to do a certain amount. They’ve already exceeded that by
pushing for an extra three for Garth Brooks. It’s just way too much
.

“As well as that, we’re not through the worst of the pandemic. So you know, whether they’re even likely to go ahead is the question.”

Neighbour Frank Cullen was of a similar view.

“This thing of only doing two was just a marketing ploy, I think,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be a fan now. I don’t really know much about him. I’ll probably go on holidays that week, but next September, God knows where we’ll be with Covid.

“The one thing I’ll say is he went up in my estimation when he sang at Biden’s inauguration.”

Brooks fans look set to splash €30m on tickets for his Dublin gigs.

Seats were still available for all of the shows on Ticketmaster last night, although all of the standing tickets appeared to have been snapped up.

In Dublin last week, Brooks said he would love to play the full five nights, but doubted it could happen.

“I would love to do five, but I would also love to be six-feet-five and have abs,” he joked.

“What happened in 2014 was a frickin’ miracle – who does numbers like that? There’s no way we are going to do that number again.”

A number of Dublin hotels are increasing their prices significantly for the two weekends Brooks is scheduled to play his Croke Park gigs.

This week there were no double hotel rooms available on Booking.com in Dublin for less than €300 on September 9, when Brooks plays his first concert.

This compares with dozens of rooms available for less than €200 on the previous weekend.

One city centre hotel has double rooms listed for €160 on Friday, September 2, but the cheapest for the following Friday is €399.

The price increases to €419 the following Friday, but then drops to €209 the weekend after the gigs.

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