Nicki Minaj fans slam Co-op Live over ‘absolutely ridiculous’ gig cancellation

Thousands of Nicki Minaj fans were waiting inside Co-op Live when the concert was cancelled
-Credit: (Image: Supplied)

Fans of Nicki Minaj have hit out at Co-op Live after her Manchester gig was cancelled at short notice following her arrest.

The rapper and singer, 41, was detained at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on Saturday and says she spent around six hours in custody before leaving the Netherlands for the UK.

Fans were let into the Co-op Live Arena for her show at around 7pm on Saturday, before the promoter Live Nation announced at around 9.40pm that it would be postponed.

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Alvin Christie told the PA news agency he was waiting from 9am to attend the concert. The 29-year-old, from Liverpool, did not blame Minaj and says fans want her to be “in a good place” and “were just more concerned that she was okay”.

He said: “I would say it was very poorly managed. When we arrived into the event, they were actively telling fans that she had arrived and that everyone was going to dance tonight.

“For a lot of people that were asking those questions, that’s obviously (keeping) people’s hopes up. I understand that maybe they wanted to get people into the arena for health and safety risks to stop people being outside.

“But I think most importantly, they maybe could have advised people as soon as they’ve known that the show was postponed and we should be turned away when we’re outside the arena, rather than holding loads of people in the arena.”

Eileen Allardyce, 32, a hotel manager from Edinburgh, spent around £2,500 on tickets, travel and hotel costs and says she will not be able to make a rescheduled date.

Ms Allardyce said that since Co-op Live announced its first delay in April to an event, where comedian Peter Kay was due to perform, she has been “on eggshells” along with her friends who also had tickets for Minaj.

“Obviously, it’s not Co-op’s fault what happened in Amsterdam, and it’s not Nicki’s fault either, like, obviously, no blame for her at all,” she said.

The rapper and singer was arrested in Amsterdam on Saturday
Nicki Minaj fans leaving Co-op Live after her concert was cancelled

“But as I say, I just feel like the way they (the venue) handled it was just absolutely ridiculous. They have no clue, absolutely no clue. I don’t think they were prepared for anything, to be honest.”

She and Mr Christie also claimed there were no toilets outside the arena for fans to use while queuing, and felt more facilities are needed at the new venue. Mr Christie, who went to the Stock Exchange Hotel in the city centre where Minaj later addressed disappointed fans, contrasted his experience at Co-op Live with Manchester’s AO Arena, where he said there are “general public facilities and coffee shops”.

In a message on X - formerly Twitter - Minaj said she had arrived at her hotel in Manchester early on Sunday after spending “5-6 hours” in a cell and a delay to her flight from Amsterdam. Minaj invited her fans, known as Barbz, to her hotel in the centre of the city and according to videos on social media she then spoke to the crowds outside.

She told them: “I wanted to honestly tell you that I love you.”

Nicki Minaj outside the Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester city centre
The rapper and singer was arrested in Amsterdam on Saturday -Credit:Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

On X, she wrote the venue was “willing to go past 11pm”, and she pointed the finger at unidentified figures who she said had “succeeded at their plan to not let me get on that stage tonight”. She said a new date for the show would be announced on Sunday.

She wrote: “One July option & one June option is currently being discussed. “I’ll find a way to not only make up the date with the performance but I’m going to create an added bonus for everyone that had a (ticket) for this show. Promise.”

Minaj said she will continue with her other scheduled shows, including in Birmingham on Sunday and a second night at the Co-op Live Arena on Thursday.

A statement from Live Nation said on Saturday: “Despite Nicki’s best efforts to explore every possible avenue to make tonight’s show happen, the events of today have made it impossible. We are deeply disappointed by the inconvenience this has caused.”

Trinidad-born Minaj, who grew up in the US and is known for the songs Starships, Super Bass and Anaconda, livestreamed being arrested and claimed that drugs were found in her luggage, which did not belong to her.

Dutch police said a woman, 41, was arrested on Saturday after allegedly trying to take what it described as “soft drugs” from Schiphol Airport to another country. An update from the force at around 9pm said it had released the “suspect and she can now move on” after paying a fine.

It is the latest in a number of gigs that have been postponed at Co-op Live, which has been plagued by issues since trying to open in April. US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie moved his performance to the AO Arena over the delays, and Co-op Live began having live music shows from May 14, when British rock band Elbow took to the stage.

Co-op Live, Minaj and Live Nation have all been contacted for additional comment.