July 8, 2014 / 4:14 PM / 5 years ago

All five of Garth Brooks' Irish comeback shows canceled

Musician Garth Brooks waves while on stage at the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

DUBLIN (Reuters) - American country singer Garth Brooks’ five comeback concerts in Dublin this month were canceled on Tuesday after two of the sold-out shows were denied permission to go ahead, the event’s promoters said.

A council decision last week to uphold objections raised by local residents against the holding of five successive shows at the 82,000-seat Croke Park stadium has dominated the airwaves, newspaper front pages and been raised in parliament.

Brooks, who retired from recording new music and touring in 2001, chose Dublin for his five-night “Comeback Special Event”, selling a record 400,000 tickets, equivalent to almost 10 percent of the population, before a wider tour later in 2014.

But after local media quoted the singer as saying he would play five shows or none at all, the concert’s organizer, Aiken Promotions, said on Tuesday that no concerts would take place.

“Aiken Promotions have exhausted all avenues regarding the staging of this event,” the promoters said in a brief statement, without giving any details as to why all five shows had been canceled.

Brooks, who has sold more than 125 million albums and is best known for hits such as “The Thunder Rolls” and “Friends in Low Places”, has played the occasional one-city show and benefit concert during his retirement but has never toured.

No act, including Ireland’s U2, had ever played five shows in a row at the Croke Park Gaelic sports stadium, the country’s largest venue. The concert promoters had said some 70,000 of the 400,000 tickets sold were bought by people living abroad.

Business groups from restaurants to publicans and hoteliers had warned that the economy would lose up to 50 million euros if the concerts did not proceed.

“The cancellation of all five concerts in July will tarnish the image of Ireland as a tourist destination to overseas visitors,” Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said in a statement.

Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Larry King

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