Are big name acts starting to skip Ireland?

by James Hendicott
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Pop fans took note this week as Beyonce’s Renaissance world tour skipped Ireland entirely, forcing fans to travel at high prices to the UK or elsewhere in Europe if they want to grab the heavily in-demand tickets. She’s not the first: other acts to pass on an Irish show as part of extensive world tours recently include Coldplay, Muse, Pink, Madonna, Metallica and Abba, with Taylor Swift widely thought of as likely to skip our shores, too.

Of course, with the cost of getting equipment to Ireland more substantial in the context of what’s normally a small number of shows – most major acts play only Dublin and Belfast, and very occasionally Cork, Limerick or Galway – this makes economic sense to a degree. It’s exacerbated by the shortage of monster venues: limited Croke Park and Aviva Stadium gigs are added to by just one in Slane each year, and a handful of outdoor shows that would be small by the standards of Beyonce or Coldplay.

This hasn’t always been the case, and industry experts have pointed at factors that include that venue availability, but also the price of having a large crew stay in Dublin, insurance and venue costs, and the paperwork involved since Brexit as being additional burdens.

We’re not entirely hard done by. Big name shows on the horizon include Elton John’s final tour, Bruce Springsteen, Blur, Arctic Monkeys and Iron Maiden, and with Ireland’s entire population less than that of Madrid, London, Paris or Istanbul in their own right, we’re not always top of the list for these things. Still, it’s nice to hold on to the big gigs, and there’s no question that Ireland’s major promoters would have been in for these shows. Is it time to worry we’re losing our draw?

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