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All five Garth Brooks comeback gigs in Dublin cancelled

All five mammoth comeback concerts by country music superstar Garth Brooks, planned to take place in Dublin later this month, were scrapped following a licensing dispute.

DUBLIN: All five mammoth comeback concerts by country music superstar Garth Brooks, planned to take place in Dublin later this month, were scrapped on Tuesday following a licensing dispute.

Last week local authorities granted a licence for only three of the five planned gigs at Dublin's Croke Park stadium, leading Brooks to issue an "all or nothing" ultimatum.

Some 400,000 tickets for the concerts, billed as a "Comeback Special Event" before a promised world tour by the US singer later this year, had sold out in record time in January as Brooks-mania swept Ireland.

After flying to the US to meet Brooks face-to-face on Tuesday, promoter Peter Aiken issued a statement saying: "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," he said.

"Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event."

Some residents living in the densely-populated area near the stadium complained that the crowds - equivalent to one tenth of the Irish population over the five gigs - would effectively make them prisoners in their own homes.

Last week, Dublin City Council granted permission for the first three concerts at the end of July but not the last two, stating the "scale, magnitude and number" of the gigs was unprecedented.

Despite intense negotiations for the past few days, the council said it was legally impossible to "amend or appeal" its decision.

Ticket sales company Ticketmaster said the scale of the shows was "unprecedented in the Irish entertainment industry" and urged ticket-holders to be patient as it finalises its returns policy.

No artist has ever played five consecutive nights at the 82,000-capacity Croke Park, including local band U2, who used the home of Gaelic sports for their last two world tours.

Brooks, who played two packed-out shows in Croke Park in 1997, is one of the biggest stars in country music and one of the top selling artists of all time.

The 52-year-old from Oklahoma has only played occasional concerts since announcing his retirement in 2001 to raise his children, but has promised to return to touring later this year.

The dispute has dominated Irish media in recent days.

The cancellation of the concerts is a blow to Irish tourism, with as many as 70,000 tickets sold to fans outside the country.

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said the concerts were worth up 50 million euros ($68 million) to the local economy.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland said the fiasco could damage Ireland's reputation abroad.

"The cancellation of all five concerts disrupts the travel plans of thousands of concert-goers who have already booked flights, hotels and tours," said RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins.

"Hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions throughout Ireland will all suffer."

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