Co-Op (not so) Live Arena – latest

By Joe Winterbottom

Manchester’s brand-new £365 million venue for all things entertainment – the Co-Op Live Arena – has experienced something of an operational disaster since it was scheduled to open on April 23, 2024. Located right next to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, the new venue’s opening did not go to plan. Even before the official opening, on April 21 Rick Astley held a smaller test gig to around 11,000 fans but at the last minute 4000 fans saw their tickets cancelled and subsequently sent home because of “power supply issues”.

Those safety issues and concerns then pushed back the official opening date, when Peter Kay was due to perform two sold-out shows over two days on April 23 and 24, first rescheduled to the week to April 29 and 30 but now pushed back further to May 23 and 24.

The following week, there was further upset as huge artists had their gigs cancelled and postponed. The Black Keys were the first artists to experience issues. They were due to be one of the first acts to play on Saturday, April 27 but have now been pushed back to May 15. The Black Keys stated “At Co-op Live’s request, we have agreed to reschedule to 15 May. We look forward to hitting the stage when everything is up and running.” Olivia Rodrigo was due to play two shows on May 3 and 4 but has also been postponed. Then, on May 1, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s show was cancelled after the doors had already opened and people had begun arriving.

All of this didn’t bode well for attendees who were understandably crushed by the absence of the performer they had expected to see, and clearly Co-Op felt that something was wrong as well. Gary Roden, who was Co-Op Live’s General Manager for 12 months, resigned on April 25 after the disastrous first week. Gary has been replaced by Interim Manager Rebecca Kane Burton, who’s reportedly a seasoned veteran of venue management.

So hopefully things will start to move along better from now on.

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