Co-op Live in Manchester Faces Issues and Delays: What’s the Story?

Manchester’s Co-op Live, the UK’s largest indoor arena, has faced a series of setbacks since its highly anticipated opening. The venue, which boasts a capacity of 23,500, has seen a number of scheduled events either postponed or relocated. Despite these challenges, the arena finally welcomed its first audience on April 20th with a preview performance by singer Rick Astley. However, the capacity was reduced just hours before the show was set to begin.

Comedian Peter Kay was slated to be the first official act on April 23rd, but due to rescheduling, has yet to take the stage. This has sparked a chain reaction of events being pushed back. On May 14th, the troubled venue finally opened its doors with a performance by Elbow. However, less than two weeks later, another show was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. American rapper Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s gig on May 1st was cancelled last minute due to a venue-related technical issue.

Other notable events affected by the delays at Co-op Live include Olivia Rodrigo’s sold-out performances on May 3rd and 4th, which have since been rescheduled with new dates yet to be announced. British pop group Take That also moved their upcoming gigs to Manchester’s AO Arena after the issues at Co-op Live. However, they are still planning to perform at the venue in June.

Even legendary singer Barry Manilow had to book a backup venue for his planned performance on May 19th. However, the show did go on at Co-op Live. British rock band Keane also had to cancel their scheduled performance on May 5th due to ongoing technical issues beyond their control. Their show has been rescheduled for October 19th.

Despite all of these challenges, Co-op Live has continued to attract top performers. Rick Astley’s successful concert on April 20th proved that the venue is capable of hosting successful events. American rapper Nicki Minaj was scheduled to perform on May 25th but was detained in Amsterdam on suspicion of possession of soft drugs just hours before her Manchester show. The concert was ultimately postponed, with a rescheduled date to be announced.

The root of the issues at Co-op Live lies in the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. During soundcheck for the Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig, a component of the venue’s system became separated from the ductwork. While venue officials believe this was an isolated incident due to a factory defect, all similar components had to be inspected. After an inspection on May 10th, Co-op Live released a statement saying they were satisfied with the results and that the issue was an isolated manufacturing default.

Ticketholders for the affected events have been given the option to either hold onto their tickets for a rescheduled performance or request a refund. Refunds will also be available for other rescheduled events. Organizers have stated that they will work with music managers and promoters to minimize the impact on the opening season schedule. In the event of a cancellation or rescheduling, ticketholders will be contacted by their point of purchase and offered a full refund.

The arena’s general manager, Gary Roden, resigned in April following the series of issues. Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of Oak View Group, which developed Co-op Live in partnership with the City Football Group, expressed his apologies for the impact on ticketholders and fans, stating that no event will take place until it is absolutely safe to do so. A spokesperson for Co-op Group, the naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live, stated their disappointment with the schedule changes and emphasized that the impact on ticketholders must be addressed as a priority.

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