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What’s Happening at Manchester’s New Co-op Live Arena?

What’s Happening at Manchester’s New Co-op Live Arena?
08 May 2024 | Updated 09 May 2024

The much-anticipated opening of Manchester's new Co-op Live Arena has been postponed three times so far due to several technical issues.

Let’s take a look at the timeline of what’s going wrong at the music venue that was billed to rival The O2 in London.


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In September 2020, Manchester City Council gave the go-ahead for equal joint venture partners and investors Oak View Group and City Football Group to create a new music venue in Manchester. The venue would be the largest arena in the UK with a capacity for 23,500 people. Naming rights for the venue were purchased by the Co-op.

A topping-out ceremony was held in July 2023, with an April 2024 opening date suggested. Soon after, a roster of global artists announced that they would perform at the Co-op Live Arena, including The Jonas Brothers, Olivia Rodrigo and Eric Clapton. Comedian Peter Kay was also due to open the arena with gigs scheduled for 23 and 24 April 2024.

On Saturday 20 April, a test concert featuring Rick Astley was disrupted due to an electrical fault. Of the 11,000 tickets sold, 6,000 were cancelled just hours before the show started. According to a source who attended the show and spoke to The Telegraph, the electrics cut out and there wasn’t consistent energy supply throughout the building during the event. The source also said that security equipment was not working.

More delays followed. Peter Kay’s planned shows on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 April were postponed to the following week, and then postponed again until the end of May. Co-op Live posted on X ( formerly Twitter) to say: “Today's announcement comes with reassurance that we welcome fans to Co-op Live from Boogie Wit Da Hoodie on 1 May and into Olivia Rodrigo from 3 May 2024.”

On Friday 26 April, the General Manager of the venue resigned, causing more doubts about the project. On 1 May, a performance by American rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was cancelled at the last minute following issues during a soundcheck. The BBC reported that a nozzle from the ventilation and air-conditioning system reportedly fell from the ceiling. Concert-goers were only warned that the gig would not go ahead ten minutes after doors had opened.

It was then announced that planned shows from Olivia Rodrigo (scheduled for 3 and 4 May) and Keane (scheduled for 5 May) would need to be postponed. To date, the only performance that has taken place at the arena is the Rick Astley test event. 

Spokespeople from the Co-op Live Arena insist it will open on 14 May and have since announced that Travis Scott’s Utopia - Circus Maximus Tour will head to the venue on 13 July.

Picture: an aerial photograph of the site of the Co-op Live Arena. Image Credit: Adobe Stock

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 08 May 2024


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