Manchester’s Co-op Live arena postpones opening event for second time

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Another setback has been dealt to Manchester‘s new state-of-the-art arena, Co-op Live, it was originally set to open earlier this week before Peter Kay agreed to postpone his shows, and now, the opening events have been pushed back once more.

The latest blow comes after Gary Roden, the general manager of the arena, has quit the project. Rebecca Kane Burton, who was previously the boss of the O2 Arena, will take over Roden’s duties on an interim basis.

Roden faced heavy criticism after making disparaging comments about grassroots venues after rejecting a £1-a-ticket levy to help the Music Venue Trust, telling the BBC, “En masse bills are going up and this, that and the other. But ultimately if there are 1,000 venues, one of them is going to be the best-run venue and one of them is going to be the poorly run venue, and where does the money go?”

This led to the Music Venue Trust condemning Roden, who has now left the role. In a statement, Co-op Live thanked him for his work to “help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future”.

The new venue was set to host two comedy shows by Peter Kay earlier this week, however, the events were pushed back until the end of the month and have now been rescheduled for May. The Black Keys were due to start their European tour at the venue on April 27th, but have now agreed to move it to May 15th.

On April 20th, a test event was held for the arena, in which Rick Astley was meant to perform to 11,000 workers and specially selected audience members. However, 4,000 of those attendees had their tickets cancelled shortly before the event was due to take place, over safety concerns.

Co-op Live say the decision to push the events back is due to them “undertaking an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures to ensure all areas are ready for fans.”

They continued: “Rescheduling Peter Kay and The Black Keys will give us the extra time we need to continue testing enhanced emergency communications thoroughly. This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size to ensure that our fans, artists and staff have the safest experience.”

The 23,500 capacity arena has cost £365 million to construct, and has been financed by City Football Group, who own Manchester City, along with US financiers Oak View Group.

Now, the first concert set to be held at Co-op Live is rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie on May 1st. Pop star Olivia Rodrigo is also set to perform two shows at the venue next week. Co-op Live has made reassurances to fans that these events will go ahead.

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