MCD Rides The Flak

Irish papers like to focus on anything negative and blow it up out of proportion, MCD chief Denis Desmond told Pollstar after locals spent two weeks haranguing his company over the organization of his Slane Castle show and the noise produced by U2 concerts at Dublin’s Croke Park.

He said his company attended a July 29 inquiry to review the Slane show, where fans complained the event was oversold. Site owner Lord Henry Mountcharles admitted at the inquiry there had been “serious problems.”

“The whole story about us selling too many tickets was started by a radio DJ who retracted it two days later, but by then everyone else had picked up on it,” Desmond said.

He added that the review, which was attended by Lord Mountcharles, the police, local authorities and the two bus companies involved with shipping people away from the event, accepted that the 80,000 capacity for the Oasis show hadn’t been broken and that 77,800 tickets were sold.

Desmond also said Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann were heavily criticized by fans who had to wait three hours for transport. But of the 22,000 fans who traveled home by bus, only 3,000 had pre-booked.

“They sent more buses and at one point there was a whole line of them on the 20-mile motorway back to Dublin. Maybe they did well to respond in the way they did,” he said, pointing out that MCD may not have been the only company to suffer harsh criticism.

No sooner had the Slane stories died down than angry residents living near Croke Park began protesting the amount of noise made during U2’s production rehearsals.

After three 80,000-capacity sellouts on July 24, 25 and 27 – hugely successful events that didn’t get the column inches Desmond felt they merited – the media attention turned to the protesters who picketed the sports stadium July 28 and delayed the load-out by eight hours.

After three nights of loud music, the residents were unhappy to have a further night of pull-down noise.

“We had permission from the local authority to work through the night and we needed to do that because they wanted to lay a new pitch July 29,” Desmond explained. “They have a Gaelic football match in the park Aug. 2, but everything is OK and it should be going ahead.”