Manchester’s Co-op Live arena finally opens after weeks of cancellations and setbacks

Entertainment

Manchester’s beleaguered Co-op Live arena has finally officially opened its doors after weeks of setbacks, cancellations and postponements.

The venue was initially due to fully open with two Peter Kay stand-up shows on 23 and 24 April, but these dates were pushed back when problems emerged at a test event headlined by Ricky Astley.

The Co-op Live’s new opening night was then due to be 1 May when US act A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie should have performed – but this was cancelled at the last minute as fans queued outside.

In the fortnight since, numerous other acts have been forced to postpone or move their Co-Op Live gigs but the doors have finally opened to fans, with Manchester band Elbow taking to the stage this evening.

The show was due to open at 7.40pm, with London band The WAEVE as the support act, and people have been seen going into the venue.

Guy Garvey of the band Elbow performs at the Platinum Jubilee concert in 2022. Pic: AP
Image:
Elbow’s Guy Garvey. File pic: AP

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s last-minute cancellation came after part of the venue’s ventilation and air conditioning system fell from the ceiling during a soundcheck.

The venue’s boss said today that the accident could have been “catastrophic” if it had happened just 15 minutes later.

More on Manchester

PABest A view of the Co-op Live arena in Manchester. The £365 million venue, the biggest indoor arena in the UK, has postponed its opening numerous times after rescheduling performances from Peter Kay, The Black Keys, and A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, as well as shows by Olivia Rodrigo scheduled for this Friday and Saturday. Picture date: Thursday May 2, 2024.
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Pic: PA

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of the arena’s operator Oak View Group, told BBC News: “They didn’t put the bolts in. It wasn’t visible to the eye and it fell out.

“So we [have since] got that double checked and triple checked. We’ve looked at thousands of bolts up in that ceiling now. We’ve looked at the life safety lines. And we were going to take our time to make sure we did this right.

“There was no way we were opening the doors until we checked every screw and every bolt and every one of those 95 shafts.”

With a capacity of 23,500, Co-op Live is the UK’s latest indoor arena and it cost £365m to build.

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