Nicki Minaj says sorry to fans as Manchester gig cancelled after arrest

<span>Nicki Minaj’s show at Co-op Live was abandoned at 9.30pm, when the rapper was due on stage and about 20,000 fans were inside.</span><span>Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP</span>
Nicki Minaj’s show at Co-op Live was abandoned at 9.30pm, when the rapper was due on stage and about 20,000 fans were inside.Photograph: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Nicki Minaj has offered her “deepest and most sincere apologies” after her Manchester concert was cancelled at the last minute after she was arrested in Amsterdam.

The US rapper was detained for hours at Schiphol airport on suspicion of “possessing soft drugs” before being fined by Dutch police and allowed to continue her journey.

Her show at Co-op Live was abandoned at 9.30pm, when Minaj was due on stage. About 20,000 fans were inside the venue, the UK’s biggest indoor arena, when they were told the concert had been called off.

There were boos from the crowd and some concertgoers said they felt “disgusted” and “betrayed” by Minaj, 41.

“I feel appalled. But also, in a way, I’m not shocked,” said Olivia Gibson, 21, who had travelled from Newcastle for the gig. “And it’s not the Co-op Live’s fault. She’s just let all her fans down.”

Other fans said the venue’s staff had told them before the concert was called off that Minaj was in the building and would be performing.

Alvin Christie, 29, said he had waited from 9am to attend the concert, describing it as “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,” he told the PA Media news agency. “For a lot of people that were asking those questions, that’s obviously [keeping] people’s hopes up.”

Eileen Allardyce, 32, a hotel manager from Edinburgh, said she had spent about £2,500 on tickets, travel and hotel costs and would not be able to attend a rescheduled date.

She complained about a lack of toilets for fans queuing outside the venue, which opened earlier this month at a cost of £450m.

“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.

“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.”

Minaj said on social media she was in a prison cell for five to six hours and finally arrived at her hotel in Manchester at about midnight.

“They succeeded at their plan to not let me get on that stage tonight,” she wrote on X, without saying who she was referring to. “Please please please accept my deepest & most sincere apologies. They sure did know exactly how to hurt me today but this too, shall pass.

“They’ve been doing this over & over & over & over & over again & I’ve tried so hard to not discuss it b/c [because] you guys deserve to just get the good stuff. I hate involving you in anything that isn’t for entertainment purposes only.”

She said on Sunday she hoped to announce a rescheduled date, promising an “added bonus” for those who had bought a ticket.

Minaj met fans – who call themselves Barbz – outside the Stock Exchange hotel in Manchester shortly before 2am on Sunday.

“I love you … and I’m so sorry,” she told them, according to footage shared on social media.

Co-op Live, which has endured a series of setbacks since opening in April, said it was “deeply disappointed” at the inconvenience caused by the latest cancellation, which came two-and-a-half hours after ticket-holders had entered the arena.