Co-op Live's first show was cancelled after 'piece of air conditioning unit' fell from the ceiling

Fans leaving the new arena
Fans leaving the new arena -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

Co-op Live's first full show was cancelled minutes before it was due to start after part of an air conditioning unit fell from the gantry inside the venue prior to the start of the gig.

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's show at the troubled arena was cancelled at the last minute as hundreds of people queued outside.

Ticket holders were told to 'leave the arena' after bosses announced the concert would not be going ahead due to a 'technical issue'. The decision came just ten minutes before the opening support act was due on stage.

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A spokesperson for the venue has now confirmed to the M.E.N. that the decision to cancel the concert was made after an item - believed to be part of an air conditioning unit - fell from a gantry inside the arena during soundcheck. Nobody was hurt.

One person who was working at the venue at the time told the M.E.N. that he witnessed what looked like a "steel bar fall from the ceiling into the bowl" at about 5.30pm.

The announcement that the show had been cancelled came at 6.40pm, just over an hour later. One member of staff said staff were "disappointed but understand the welfare of visitors comes first".

Fans walk away
Fans walk away -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

The shock announcement comes after weeks of turmoil at the £365m Eastlands venue, which saw capacity at a test gig slashed and several shows rescheduled amid emergency services concerns over the safety of the venue.

In a statement last night, Co-op Live bosses insisted tonight's concert with the American rapper would still go ahead but at 6:40pm, the venue took to X to break the news to fans that the gig had been cancelled.

The venue said: "Due to a venue-related technical issue, tonight’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show will no longer go ahead. We kindly ask fans to leave the area. Tickets holders will receive further information in due course. We deeply apologise for the significant inconvenience this will cause for many."

An eyewitness told the M.E.N that some Co-op Live workers were "in tears" at the venue after it was announced that the show had been cancelled.

"I wanted this to work tonight," one said. "I'm so disappointed for all these fans."

A source told the M.E.N that taxi drivers had been asked to head to the venue immediately following the news that gig had been cancelled.

"We have just been contacted by Co-Op Live Arena. Today’s show has been cancelled at the last minute," the message reads.

"A lot of people have actually turned up to the concert. They need a lot of Taxis at the venue RIGHT NOW. Please help clear the work."

Infuriated fans have been quick to react to the last minute cancellation. Commenting on the post by the Co-op live, Ryan Kelly wrote: “What use is an apology, you knew full well this event would not go ahead.

“Thousands more people out of pocket and having to reschedule hotels, trains, time off work! And to cancel so close to the time is cruel, I’m sure there will be no recompense to those affected?"

Kate Duckworth said: “Save your apologies. To cancel an event whilst people are queuing to get in is an absolute disgrace!”

Oak View Group managing director Tim Leiweke interviewed by the Manchester Evening News at Co-op Live
Oak View Group managing director Tim Leiweke -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Others have shared concerns about future gigs. Olivia Rodrigo is slated to perform two huge shows at the arena on Friday and Saturday and Keane is billed to bring the 20th anniversary celebration of their debut album to the venue on Sunday night.

In a statement, a spokesperon for the company behind the venue, Oak View Group, said: "Due to a venue-related issue, tonight’s Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s headline show will no longer go ahead at Co-op Live.

"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 added: “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.”

In a statement posted on X, A Boogie wit da Hoodie said: "Something happened with the venue while I was at soundcheck today that caused cancellation of the show. We are working on rescheduling in the next few days. I’m heated about the situation too but safety first. Manchester, I got you. Just stay tuned for further info."