When did Manchester’s Co-op Live Arena begin to have issues?

Here is a timeline of what happened:

– 2020

Planning permission is given for the venue project, built by developer Oak View Group who said the £350 million project would create 3,500 jobs during construction and a further 1,000 once the venue opened.

Harry Styles was announced as an investor in 2020 (Ian West/PA)

That same year, former One Direction member Harry Styles was announced as an investor for the arena, which is next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

– 2023

First gig announced is pop trio Jonas Brothers to perform on June 17 2024 and this is followed by more acts confirmed over the year for the venue, which is set to open in April 2024.

– February 29 2024

It is announced that the 2024 MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) will take place in Manchester at the arena on November 10.

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Rick Astley performed at a test event (Ian West/PA)

– April 20

Headaches for Co-op Arena became patently clear after capacity for a test event was reduced with just hours’ notice.

Rick Astley did perform at the arena, however, and there were reports on social media that the event was a success.

– April 22

Yet more issues came when comedian Peter Kay’s performances were postponed with less than 48 hours’ notice.

His original dates were shifted to April 29 and 30, with Kay writing on social media that he was ” truly gutted” for his fans.

Kay wrote: “Obviously, it’s a brand new venue and it’s important that everything is finished and safe for full capacity audiences.

Peter Kay Wheelyboat launch
Comedian Peter Kay’s dates were postponed (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Fortunately we’ve been able to reschedule the shows to next week, (I’ll have to miss my Bums and Tums class) but hopefully I’ll see you then.”

A spokesman for the arena said that “consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue” was two days behind and there needs to be more time to test it “thoroughly”.

“This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size,” he said.

– April 25

Following a slew of issues, general manager Gary Roden resigned.

His departure also came in the wake of a backlash against him claiming to the BBC that grassroots music venues were often “poorly run”.

The Music Venue Trust criticised Mr Roden in a statement of its own, telling the NME that grassroots music venues are not “poorly run”, and it is “disrespectful and disingenuous to suggest otherwise”.

It added: “Obviously, the irony of making ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading comments about grassroots music venues on the day that the launch of their new arena has unfortunately fallen into such difficulties is not lost on anyone in the music industry, on artists, or on audiences.”

Rebecca Kane Burton, an ex-boss of London’s O2 Arena, was then announced as interim general manager.

Jessica Koravos, president of OVG International, thanked Mr Roden for his help and wished him “the best for the future”.

However, she said his remarks were not a “sentiment” shared by the stadium.

She added: “Tim Leiweke has repeatedly stated, Co-op Live remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond, including teaming up with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham on the artist of the month campaign, and as a founding partner of Beyond The Music.”

– April 26

Peter Kay and The Black Keys both have to reschedule dates because of the venue not being “ready”.

Kay’s gigs moved to May 23 and May 24, and he said it was “very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won’t compromise that” on X, formerly Twitter.

Glastonbury Festival 2014 – Day 3
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys (Yui Mok/PA)

The new date for the US rock band The Black Keys became May 15.

In a statement to the PA news agency, Co-op Live also said that there is “reassurance” for fans that dates for US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, real name Julius Dubose, on May 1, and American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s performances on May 3 and 4 would be going ahead.

The chairman and chief executive of developer Oak View Group, Tim Leiweke, offered his “sincerest apologies to every fan that has been impacted by this decision and others this week” and joined his team “in thanking them for their continued patience and support as we prepare to open our doors”.

– May 1

Both A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo dates are postponed.

This was just over an hour before A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was set to perform, with the venue saying that there was a problem during the soundcheck.

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US singer Olivia Rodrigo (Doug Peters/PA)

A component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system used to direct air had separated from the ductwork, and the installer, contractor and third-party inspector will now have to test each nozzle to confirm they are free from the defect, the Oak View Group said.

Two hours after cancelling A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the venue then said that Rodrigo’s gigs would not go ahead on May 3 and 4.

A statement on X said: “Ticket holders can either hold on to their tickets or obtain a refund at point of purchase.”

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