Peter Kay forced to postpone gigs for a second time because of arena issues

Peter Kay says he has been forced to postpone two shows at a new arena in Manchester again - this time for almost a month.

The comedian was due to perform at the Co-op Live in Manchester, which is set to become the UK's biggest arena, on 23 and 24 April.

Behind-schedule power tests and safety concerns meant both gigs were initially pushed back to 29 and 30 April - but now, the dates have been delayed until 23 and 24 May.

Co-op Live's general manager, Gary Roden, resigned on Thursday following a series of problems and delays at the new venue.

Kay wrote: "To everybody with tickets, my apologies once again... I know I can't believe it either."

He added: "It's very disappointing but your safety is important and I won't compromise that."

Roden announced his resignation after a slew of issues led to a delay in the opening of what will be the UK's biggest indoor arena, built at an estimated cost of £365m.

In an X/Twitter post on Friday, comedian Kay apologised to fans for the cancellations.

The 50-year-old Phoenix Nights star wrote: "To everybody with tickets, my apologies once again but unfortunately the Co-op Live still isn't ready and so, as yet, remains untested for a large-scale audience.

"Consequently, they are having to reschedule my two shows yet again (I know I can't believe it either)."

It was also announced that The Black Keys gig due to be held at the venue this weekend has been pushed back too.

Headaches for Co-op Arena became patently clear after capacity for a test event last Saturday was reduced with just hours' notice.

The arena originally announced on Monday that Kay's performances would instead take place on 29 and 30 April, with Kay saying he was "truly gutted" by the delay. However, the comedy gigs will now move again, to late next month.

He wrote: "Tickets will be transferred, or refunds given if the new dates aren't suitable. It's very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won't compromise that."

In a post on X/Twitter, Co-Op Live Arena 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."

The US rock band will now play at the venue on 15 May.

A spokesperson for the venue posted: "Rescheduling Peter Kay and The Black Keys will give us the extra time we need to continue testing enhanced emergency communications 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."

Last weekend, a preview concert starring Rick Astley was also hit by delays, with capacity slashed just hours before his gig was due to begin.

Astley fans who had their tickets cancelled were instead offered seats to see The Black Keys play, before that show was pushed back.

Organisers said one problem in particular related to the power supply that was the cause of the cancellation.

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A spokesperson said: "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."

Once fully open, the arena next to Manchester City's stadium will have a capacity of 23,500, overtaking the size of the existing Manchester Arena which can hold 21,000 spectators.

The Co-Op Live Arena counts former One Direction singer Harry Styles as one of its investors, with the pop star also advising on some elements of its design.

Other stars that were due to play at the venue include Take That, Liam Gallagher, Olivia Rodrigo and Eric Clapton.

Kay has been on a comeback tour since December, appearing in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham - his first tour since 2010.