Olivia Rodrigo’s Manchester Co-op Live gigs cancelled at last minute as £365m venue faces more chaos

Olivia Rodrigo‘s sold-out concerts at Manchester’s crisis-hit Co-op Live arena have been cancelled at the last minute after a piece of the ventilation system fell from the roof during a soundcheck.

The latest setback at the problem-plagued opening of the 23,500-seat arena came on Wednesday evening just hours before US rapper Boogie With Da Hoodie was due to perform.

Some fans were queuing for tickets when bosses at the £365m arena finally announced the show was off – prompting an outpouring of dismay and the subsequent cancellation of pop star Rodrigo’s concerts, scheduled for 3 and 4 May.

The Co-op Live Arena cited 'ongoing venue-related technical issues' for postponing the three-time Grammy winner's shows on Friday and Saturday which were part of her Guts World Tour.

Wednesday’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show was meant to be Co-op Live’s first official event however the rapper said “something happened” during the soundcheck that resulted in the show being cancelled.

“I’m heated about the situation too, but safety first Manchester, I got you, just stay tuned for further info,” he said.

The venue is part of the Oak View Group, which confirmed that there was a problem with a component of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Manchester Co-op Live has postponed Olivia Rodrigo’s world tour performances (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)
Manchester Co-op Live has postponed Olivia Rodrigo’s world tour performances (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Archive)

Meanwhile, Rodrigo said she was “disappointed” that she and her team were unable to perform in Manchester “due to on-going venue-related technical issues”, in a post on her Instagram story.

She added that she was doing her best with her team to reschedule the concerts.

Manchester’s new venue will be the UK’s largest indoor arena when it is finally open, but it has so far suffered numerous technical failures with multiple last-minute cancellations including for comedian Peter Kay and singer Rick Astley.

Astley had been due to perform to 11,000 arena workers and VIPs on 21 April but thousands of people saw their tickets cancelled at the last minute.

General manager Gary Roden quit last week over a series of issues that led to opening delays, and over criticism when he said some small music venues were “poorly run”.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of the 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.”

Meanwhile, the Co-operative Group said it was “disappointed” by the announcement and will seek a “full explanation” from the Oak View Group.

The Co-op Live Manchester venue (Co-op Live Manchester)
The Co-op Live Manchester venue (Co-op Live Manchester)

“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,” a Co-op Group spokesperson said.

“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.

“Safety is, of course, the number one priority and it is critical that Co-op members and other ticket holders can enjoy events in a venue with the very highest levels of security and safety measures in place.”