The embarrassment deepens as Co-op Live cancels opening show AGAIN

Co-op Live

The troubled launch of Manchester’s £365m new music venue Co-op Live continued last night (1 May 2024) as Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s headline show was cancelled on the night.

Ticket holders were told the show will no longer go ahead as they arrived at the venue.

The cancellation prompted an angry response from sponsor Co-op Group, with a spokesperson expressing disappointment and frustration with the continued delays and demanding Oak View Group come with a clear plan and an explanation for the ongoing chaos.

“As the naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live, we are shocked at the incident which has led to late cancellation of tonight’s show at the arena. We are relieved that no-one has been injured, but we share the disappointment and frustration of ticket holders, many of whom are Co-op members, with the continuing delay to the opening of Co-op Live and the disruption that this is causing to everyone who has been looking forward to attending events.

“We will be seeking a full explanation from Oak View Group (OVG), who are responsible for the building, to the obvious questions arising from this, together with a clear plan from the Co-op Live venue management team at OVG for opening the venue and postponed and future events.”

In a statement the venue said: “During soundcheck, a component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, used to direct air, separated from the ductwork. There was nobody injured. Although we believe this to be an isolated incident caused by a factory defect, we were not able to verify that all similar nozzles were free of such defects. In conjunction with wider stakeholders, Oak View Group has made the necessary call to ensure the full safety of all visitors to the venue, and to postpone the performance.”

“In response, the installer, contractor and third-party inspector will now test each nozzle to confirm they are free of defect.

“We appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for many, and are deeply sorry for all those impacted.

“We understand the need to reassure fans over future shows. We are working with artist management and promoters to limit the impact on the opening season schedule. Where necessary, we will identify alternate dates, and will continually reassess to provide fans with sufficient notice regarding imminent shows. Should shows be cancelled or rescheduled, fans will be contacted by their point of purchase and offered a full refund where preferred.”

Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO, Oak View Group said: “The safety and security of all visiting and working on Co-op Live is our utmost priority, and we could not and will not run any event until it is absolutely safe to do so. Today was a very unexpected situation but without a doubt the right decision. I deeply apologise for the impact that this has had on ticket holders and fans.”

Last week’s disastrous opening week saw Gary Roden, the general manager of Manchester’s £365m new Co-Op Live Arena take the rap for the unfolding disaster, and dramatically resigned after the opening of the venue was delayed.

In a statement the venue owners thanked Roden for his “help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future” and said Rebecca Kane Burton, who has run London’s O2 Arena, would be interim general manager.

Planned official opening shows by comedian Peter Kay last Tuesday (23 April 2024) were initially moved to next Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 April.

Those shows have now been moved to 15 May 2024, and Peter Kay will now perform on 23 and 24 May 2024.

Located next to Manchester City FC’s Etihad stadium, Co-op Live has been built by City Football Group in partnership with Oak View Music Group, co-founded by US music mogul Irving Azoff.

A statement from Co-op Live on Friday morning 26 April 2024 said: “Since making the difficult decision to postpone the live shows at Co-op Live due to take place this week, we have been undertaking an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures to ensure all areas are ready for fans. To ensure that we can run all shows safely, regretfully we have now had to take the decision to reschedule the planned The Black Keys and Peter Kay shows.”

“All tickets remain valid and ticket holders will be contacted by their point of purchase. Refunds will be available for those who can no longer attend. We deeply appreciate the impact this will have on excited fans, and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience that this change will undoubtedly cause.

“Rescheduling Peter Kay and The Black Keys will give us the extra time we need to continue testing enhanced emergency communications and measures 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 possible.

“As we make this very difficult decision, we thank Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service, North West Ambulance Service, our staff and wider stakeholders for their continued dedication to Co-op Live.”

How they hope Co-op Live will look one day

“It is critical to ensure we have a consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue, the completion of which is a few days behind. Rescheduling gives us the extra time we need to continue testing thoroughly. This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size.”