Timeline of issues affecting Manchester’s Co-op Live Arena

Manchester’s Co-Op Live Arena has been plagued by numerous issues from its testing to eventual opening earlier this month, with the latest problem seeing a Nicki Minaj performance postponed after she was arrested in Amsterdam on Saturday.

Here is a timeline of what has happened:

– 2020

Planning permission was given for the venue project, built by developer Oak View Group who said the £350 million project would create 3,500 jobs during construction and a further 1,000 once the venue opened.

Myra Carvalho court case
Harry Styles was announced as an investor in 2020 (Ian West/PA)

That same year, former One Direction member Harry Styles was announced as an investor for the arena, which is next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

– 2023

First gig announced was pop trio Jonas Brothers to perform on June 17 2024 and this was followed by more acts confirmed over the year for the venue, which is set to open in April 2024.

– February 29 2024

It was announced that the 2024 MTV European Music Awards (EMAs) would take place in Manchester at the arena on November 10.

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Rick Astley performed at a test event (Ian West/PA)

– April 20

Headaches for Co-op Arena emerged after capacity for a test event was reduced with just hours’ notice.

Rick Astley did perform at the arena, however, and there were reports on social media that the event was a success.

– April 22

Yet more issues came when comedian Peter Kay’s performances were postponed with less than 48 hours’ notice.

His original dates were shifted to April 29 and 30, with Kay writing on social media that he was “truly gutted” for his fans.

Kay wrote: “Obviously, it’s a brand new venue and it’s important that everything is finished and safe for full capacity audiences.

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Comedian Peter Kay’s dates were postponed (Peter Byrne/PA)

“Fortunately, we’ve been able to reschedule the shows to next week (I’ll have to miss my Bums and Tums class) but hopefully I’ll see you then.”

A spokesman for the arena said that “consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue” was two days behind and there needed to be more time to test it “thoroughly”.

– April 25

Following a slew of issues, general manager Gary Roden resigned.

His departure also came in the wake of a backlash against him claiming to the BBC that grassroots music venues were often “poorly run”.

The Music Venue Trust criticised Mr Roden in a statement of its own, telling the NME that grassroots music venues are not “poorly run”, and it is “disrespectful and disingenuous to suggest otherwise”.

Rebecca Kane Burton, an ex-boss of London’s O2 Arena, was then announced as interim general manager.

– April 26

Peter Kay and The Black Keys both had to reschedule dates because of the venue not being “ready”.

Kay’s gigs were moved to May 23 and May 24, and he said it was “very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won’t compromise that” on X, formerly Twitter.

Glastonbury Festival 2014 – Day 3
Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys (Yui Mok/PA)

The new date for the US rock band The Black Keys became May 15.

In a statement to the PA news agency, Co-op Live also said that there is “reassurance” for fans that dates for US rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, real name Julius Dubose, on May 1, and American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s performances on May 3 and 4 would be going ahead.

– May 1

Both A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo dates are postponed.

This was just over an hour before A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie was set to perform, with the venue saying that there was a problem during the soundcheck.

MTV Video Music Awards 2023 – Arrivals – New Jersey
US singer Olivia Rodrigo (Doug Peters/PA)

A component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system used to direct air had separated from the ductwork, and the installer, contractor and third-party inspector would now have to test each nozzle to confirm they are free from the defect, the Oak View Group said.

Two hours after cancelling A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, the venue then said that Rodrigo’s gigs would not go ahead on May 3 and 4.

– May 2

Take That said they would be moving their May shows from the Co-op Live to the AO Arena because of “ongoing technical issues”.

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Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen of Take That (Chris Jackson/PA)

Earlier that day another band, Keane, announced their May 5 gig at the venue had been postponed thanks to issues that were “entirely beyond our control”.

The venue said it would be taking “a short pause to events at Co-op Live to fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue”.

– May 7

Co-op Live announced it would host a Travis Scott gig as part of the artist’s Utopia – Circus Maximus Tour on July 13.

– May 10

Keane announced their postponed Co-op Live gig had been rescheduled for October 19.

– May 14

Live music finally got under way at the Co-op Live arena after Manchester band Elbow opened the new venue as its first headliners.

Frontman Guy Garvey told the audience those who had been working on the building had been “so excited today, so nervous and so excited”, in a video shared on X.

– May 25

Nicki Minaj is arrested in the Netherlands hours before she is due to fly to the UK to perform at the Co-op Live Arena.

A statement to the PA news agency from the National Police Corps said a woman, 41, was arrested after allegedly trying to take soft drugs from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to another country.

An update from the Dutch force at around 9pm stated that it had released their “suspect and she can now move on”, but Live Nation announced soon after that the show, originally set to have doors open at 6.30pm, had been postponed.