U2 Slammed on Ticket Prices

NME Magazine by Eugene Masterson (1989-09-30)

U2 are facing a major storm of protest in their home city of Dublin over ticket prices for their five Irish concerts at the end of December.

The tickets priced at 20.50 and 25.50 Irish pounds (around £17 and £21) are the dearest ever for a rock concert in Ireland and have provoked claims that they’re “excessive” and “exploitative.”

Father Martin Clarke, the chairman of the National Youth Council of Ireland said the price range was outside the pocket of most young people, especially the unemployed.

He added that he didn’t believe the overheads of the concerts could justify the prices, which he described as excessive.

“U2 are an Irish band and they should remember the money they are charging their Irish fans to see them,” he said.

Said a spokesman at the band’s Island label: “There’s been stories that the money from the shows will be going to charity but that hasn’t been decided.

“Yes, the ticket prices are high, but the production costs of this show are also very high. What they’re doing is reducing the capacity of the Point Depot arena from 7,000 to 4,000, because previously not everyone had a good sight of the stage, but they’re putting more seets in so everyone will be able to see.”

Meanwhile an even stronger outburst against U2 was made by Stephen Grogan, president of the Union of Students in Ireland.

“These prices are outrageous,” said the union leader who represents 80,000 students in all the universities and colleges in Ireland.

“If materialism has become the dominant theme and U2 are going to treat Ireland like the United States, it’s sickening. I fail to see how they can ask these prices, they are excessive.”

He accused U2 of “greed motivation” and stressed that if the band were going to donate some of the money to charity they should at least design a system whereby the majority of their fans would be able to afford tickets in the first place.

“Most students in Ireland get a weekly grant from the government of IR£56 and with that they have to pay for rent, food, transport, books etc. And U2 expect them to pay out that type of money to see them. Most young people will have to save for months to afford it, but of course it will be no problem for the rich. Who do U2 think they are,” Mr. Grogan asked.

Irish socialist MP Tony Gregory whose constituency takes in the Point Depot, told NME: “The sort of thing will lead to the situation where they’re elitist and only the elite will be able to see them.”

Meanwhile, NME had learned that U2 are planning to broadcast one of the Dublin shows, probably the New Year’s Eve concert, live on TV to several countries, including Britain and a number of top rock superstars who have been associated with U2 in the past are being lined up to play with the band on the night, which will welcome in a new decade for rock.

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