Every journalist has their Mastermind subject, his or her particular and often peculiar area of expertise. One of our colleagues can regale you at length about colourful Irish murders. Another is the go-to hack for obscure and colourful district court cases.

Me, I’m the one who knows more than he ever wanted to know about Irish planning laws for outdoor events, festivals and concerts. I suppose it’s inevitable after years spent covering the music business beat in Ireland. When you’re dealing with stories like Garth Brooks’ attempt at a five in a row at Croke Park in 2014 (it’s not just the Kilkenny hurlers and Kerry footballers who failed to do that) or the aftermath of the Swedish House Mafia show at the Phoenix Park in 2012, you end up with a head full of legislation and regulations. There’s also the whole ticket touting thing, but we’ll hold off on that for today.

Of course, live music for most of my peers means what happens on the stage. They look at the act or acts, they review the music and they talk about the high jinks which occur when drink and drugs take hold of those artists.

The Stones in Croker has a certain ring to it, right? Speaking as someone who lives a few sliothar pucks away from the stadium, I’d be delighted if it happens.

With the utmost respect to my fellow hacks, they’re missing the real action. The real action is what happens offstage featuring the promoters, bookers, agents and other characters who make the live music industry tick. There’s more intrigue, machinations and drama here than on the craps tables in Las Vegas.

When you consider the very thin line between success and failure - and the sums of money which stand to be lost when things go awry – the live music industry is the biggest high stakes game in town. Of course, the arrival of such mega-corps as Live Nation and AEG has changed the nature of things, especially when they can currently afford to foot the bills for a lot of failures. But the basic game remains the same as it did back in the day. Are you the promoter who is willing to put your shirt on some unknown act who turns out to be the new Ed Sheeran?

Once upon a time, the rock’n’roll promoter was the one who was more rock’n’roll than anyone who ever walked on a stage. Read the biography of a legendary operator like Bill Graham and you’ve someone who took more chances than any act he put on his Fillmore empire.

Watch: RTÉ News - Rolling Stones in Dublin, 1965

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There’s a great yarn in that book about Graham flying into Shannon on a flight full of nuns to do a deal with legendary Kerry venue magnate Bill Fuller (a character we must come back to again) to get access to his venue. You couldn’t imagine any of the lads from Live Nation doing that sort of thing. They’d prefer to rely on their decks and data to get things done rather than taking a punt on neck and gut.

Planning regulations really are as boring as you would imagine. There’s a reason why they rarely feature in Room To Improve when Dermot Bannon is striving to put in big windows in every gaff in the country.

But that was then. In 2018, the live music industry is now bigger and more all-encompassing than it ever was before. It’s where the money is. As a result, it has also become a hell of a lot more professional. When we look back at such landmark events in Irish live music history as Lisdoonvarna, Siamsa Cois Laoi, Macroom Mountain Dew and Feile, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Those gatherings stand in stark contrast to the ultra-professional events of today, with their lengthy licencing process, health and safety to-do lists and small army of consultants getting rich off the fumes.

It’s a result of this change in how things are done that something like the planning regulations outlined in S.I. No. 264 of 2015 has as much bearing on a live event’s changes of going ahead as who the promoter books. You won’t have a summer of live music events and festivals unless the various boxes have been ticked on this set of regulations.

I know, it’s not very glamorous, is it? Planning regulations really are as boring as you would imagine. There’s a reason why they rarely feature in Room To Improve when Dermot Bannon is striving to put in big windows in every gaff in the country. You never get a band saying it’s their dream to play a big show which meets all the criteria outlined in S.I. No. 264 of 2015.

Watch: Residents association calling on DCC to not grant licence for Rolling Stones concert

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But you’ll be hearing a lot about these and other planning regulations in the next few weeks as the brouhaha begins in earnest about the Rolling Stones’ show mooted for Croke Park on May 17. Aiken Promotions have lobbed in a planning application for the show and tickets are due will go on sale on March 23. The Stones in Croker has a certain ring to it, right? Speaking as someone who lives a few sliothar pucks away from the stadium, I’d be delighted if it happens.

Only problem is Croker has a three-gigs-a-year limit and they’ve reached that for 2018 with a brace from Taylor Swift and an appearance from Michael Buble. While I’m not sure where The Pope stands in all of this – there is no mention in S.I. No. 264 of 2015 about mass - Mick and the gang definitely need a licence.

Maybe Taylor Swift will play one show instead of two (I’d be genuinely amazed if there’s demand for two shows there). Maybe Dublin City Council will overrule the residents and give the show the nod. Maybe we’ll have someone calling on the Mexican ambassador to get stuck in to resolve the issue. The next couple of weeks could turn out to be as surreal as the summer of 2014 all over again. Anyone for the last of the pink stetsons?