Ten years ago, things like Facebook and Twitter were mere ideas being conceived. They were golden nuggets in the technological world. Bebo ruled the roost and it was all about who you were giving you <3 to that day and who was in your Top 16. Only three <3s a day, don't forget. Back then, I didn't really follow social media, it wasn't in my vocabulary or on my radar. Fast-forward a decade and there are children more skilled on social networking than some grown adults.
The past week has seen my Facebook and Twitter pages be dominated by the World Cup and Garth Brooks saga, both ongoing stories at the moment. While the World Cup has a few days left, the Garth Brooks Gate came to an end or rather beginning yesterday with the announcement that all 5 concerts in Croke Park would not being going ahead.
Social-media exploded with witty tweets, memes, criticisms, praises, satire, comedy, musings. It was essentially a journalist’s dream, but a country's nightmare.
What was being deemed as one of the highlights of the summer has now become an embarrassing fail. It's as messy as a baby with a jar of Nutella. People seem to be searching for someone to blame, but in true Irish style, we're going to argue about it till the cows come home. In this case, they may not come home, they wanted their Garth Brooks fix too.
A fan or not, it's undeniably a shame on many levels. Thousands who camped for days now face the harsh reality of getting a refund, not to mention those who were travelling from abroad for the concert. There's the obvious disappointment also, and possible resentment and bitterness. The residents of the Croke Park area will undoubtedly face some kind of a backlash, particularly as there were rumors of celebrations going on when the announcement was made by Aiken Promotions yesterday. It's a blow to the city, and people are looking for someone to blame, but I don't truly think there's a clear person at fault.
Should Garth have been less greedy and played the 3 concerts that had been allowed? Should Dublin City Council have tried harder to push the other two concerts to another venue? Should the residents have made the exception and allowed the concerts to go ahead?
It's a shame really; the eyes of the world are now upon us, and for all the wrong reasons. It's embarrassing, it really is. I appreciate there are rules and regulations in place, but sometimes they're made to be broken, and I think this would have been the exception. No-one can deny that what Garth Brooks did, by selling out five nights in Croke Park was impressive to say the least. One Direction, who played here last month, managed a respectable three, but even then, there were still tickets available for them. As the saying goes, for love nor money, you couldn't get tickets to see Mr. Brooks play.
Music is something that lifts peoples spirits, there's a feeling you get hearing your favourite artist sing a particular song, or there's a lyric that strikes a chord with you. It relaxes us, transports us to a different time or place and for a brief period gives us a sense of escapism. We're still not 100% out of the woods in terms of the recession, and for many, the concerts were a much needed lift. It also gave a lift to the economy, or was expecting to. Pubs, hotels, clubs who were anticipating a profitable few days will now be left pondering can they redeem this loss in any way.
There some residents, not all, but some who are overjoyed the concerts will not be going ahead. They spent last night celebrating. While I respect the issue they had with the concerts, a certain level of respect must be upheld on both sides. For the record, I highly doubt the Garth Brooks fans (what are they known as? Brooksys?) would have adopted the hooligan attitude associated with many concert goers, and it is a shame that loyal, dedicated fans will not have the chance to attend the concert of their much loved musician. I also, do not think, that had the concerts been allowed to take place, even three of the five proposed ones, that the fans would have been overjoyed, or if they had been they certainly would not have been 'celebrating' their right to go to a concert that they had paid for. Relief would be the main feeling I imagine.
There's no happy little Irish ending to this tale, the concerts aren't going ahead and Ireland look like evil Banshee. My social media is filled with analysis and commentary. Like Garth Brooks or not, no good has come of this, and even if the concerts had gone ahead, this debacle would not be forgotten. This idea we once had of being 'the land of a thousand welcomes' really seems a bit hypocritical now? If it doesn't have some kind of a knock-on affect for the Tourism industry I will be very surprised.
William Butler Yeats once said "Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy". I'm not saying this is a tragedy, but it might teeter on the border for the thousands of fans.
Maybe we Irish do love the dramatics, the passion, the tragedy. It did lash rain yesterday, pathetic fallacy perhaps?