Rick Astley fans ‘absolutely fuming’ after venue cancels 4,000 tickets hour before show

Co-op Live
Co-op Live arena is based on the Etihad Campus next to the Manchester City football ground - Co-op Live

Rick Astley fans were left “absolutely fuming” after thousands of tickets were cancelled an hour before his show.

Fans due to attend the event at Co-op Live arena in Manchester complained that their tickets were cancelled without notice on Saturday night.

Astley, whose songs include Never Gonna Give You Up, performed at the 23,500-capacity indoor arena in front of 11,000 arena workers, VIPs and press at a free test event. But it is thought that around 4,000 tickets were cancelled an hour before the show.

Byron Edwards, wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “Invitational tickets to the test event tonight cancelled just 90 minutes before doors open. What kind of s--- show is this?

Alison Stafford-Bentley said: “Thanks for cancelling tickets for tonight less than an hour before the event is due to start. Absolutely fuming.”

Rick Astley
Rick Astley performed at the arena at a free test event on Saturday night - Ben Birchall/PA

Attendees also claimed the event was blighted by problems including long queues for food, some seating areas not being ready and crowd control concerns.

A Co-op Live spokesman told The Guardian: “We’re busy putting the finishing touches on Co-op Live, and we are looking forward to Co-op Live becoming the pre-eminent arena in the UK upon opening.

“As a part of the opening process, we are in the midst of an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures.

“To enable us to test the spaces effectively, we have made the difficult decision to reduce overall capacity for today’s test event.

“We apologise to affected guests.”

The arena is based on the Etihad Campus next to the Manchester City football ground.

The £365 million development, which is believed to be the biggest indoor area in the UK, is due to host two shows by the comedian Peter Kay from Tuesday, when it officially opens.

Take That, the Killers, Eric Clapton, Barry Manilow and Olivia Rodrigo are all scheduled to perform in the coming weeks.

The MTV Europe music awards is also set to be hosted there in November.

Harry Styles consulted on venue design

Construction began in 2021 on the new venue. It was financed by the City Football Group, owned by the Emirati royal Sheikh Mansour and Oak View Group, the US real estate group.

Harry Styles, the singer, is said to have a stake in the property and was consulted on the design of the building.

Bev Craig, Manchester council leader, welcomed its construction saying it would “deliver a huge boost for our local economy and result in significant commercial and wider benefits for the city”.

Representatives of Manchester AO arena, which is two miles away from Co-op Live, initially opposed the new development owing to its licensing application, which will allow the arena to serve alcohol until 2am at weekends and 24/7 on 25 occasions each year.

Co-op Live’s solicitors successfully rejected this argument in February.

The Music Venue Trust also opposed the project after claiming it may have a negative impact on live music in Manchester.

Co-op Live was contacted for comment.