What's going on at Manchester's Co-op Live? The arena plagued with problems and postponements

Manchester Co-op Live will be the UK's biggest indoor arena - but it has been beset by problems before it has even opened.

A slew of gigs have been postponed or moved from the £365m venue, which - when it opens - will accommodate 23,500 people.

A preview gig by singer Rick Astley is the only occasion where audiences have been inside. But even then, capacity was slashed just before it was due to start.

Comedian Peter Kay was supposed to be the first official act on 23 April - but his performances were rescheduled and since then there has been a domino of events being pushed back.

Sky News looks at what has happened, what is behind the delays to opening, and what event ticketholders should do.

What events have been affected?

Olivia Rodrigo

US singer Olivia Rodrigo's sold-out performances scheduled for 3 and 4 May have been postponed.

Her Co-op Live gigs were two of the 10 UK dates on her European and US tour. The new dates are yet to be announced.

Boogie Wit Da Hoodie

The US rapper's gig on 1 May was cancelled at the last minute, with fans already gathered outside.

Doors were supposed to open at 6.30pm for an 8pm start. But a "venue-related technical issue" meant fans were told - via a post on the venue's X account at 6.40pm - that the gig would not go ahead.

Take That

Take That have moved their upcoming gigs to Manchester's AO Arena after the problems at Co-op Live.

All of their Manchester shows in May have been moved and are on the same dates as before apart from 8 May which has been switched to 9 May.

But the British pop group are still planning to go ahead with two June dates at Co-op Live.

Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow has said he has booked another venue as a "back up plan" for his scheduled date at Co-op Live on 19 May.

He said the rival AO Arena had been booked for the same date if Co-op Live was not ready.


British rock band Keane were due to play at the venue on 5 May, but said they were "absolutely gutted" to cancel the gig because of "ongoing technical issues beyond our control".

"We are doing all we can to reschedule the show," they added.

Rick Astley

Rick Astley's performance on 20 April was a "test event" for the venue but ticket capacity was slashed just hours before his gig was due to begin.

He did perform at the arena and there were reports on social media that the event was a success.

Astley fans who had their tickets cancelled were instead offered seats to see US rock band The Black Keys play - but their show has also been affected.

The Black Keys

The new date for The Black Keys is 15 May after their original gig on 27 April was cancelled.

Peter Kay

Peter Kay, who was scheduled to be the first performer at the venue, was forced to postpone his two shows for a second time.

His first performances on 23 and 24 April had to be postponed with less than 48 hours' notice and will now take place on 23 and 24 May.

He said it was "very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won't compromise that".

So when will events actually start?

Organisers at Co-op Live said the venue will be taking "a short pause to events" before welcoming members of the public to the arena from 14 May.

A Co-op Live statement said: "At this time, we do not expect further impact on our opening season. We are aware our actions have frustrated and angered ticketholders."

What's behind the problems?

The issue is with the building's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

During the soundcheck for the Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig, a component of the venue's heating and ventilation system separated from the ductwork.

Venue bosses said while they thought it was "an isolated incident caused by a factory defect", they needed to inspect all the similar nozzles.

There will be an "independent inspection of all elements of the arena ceiling" while the venue remains closed, according to bosses.

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What should ticketholders do?

Olivia Rodrigo fans were told they could either hold on to their tickets for a rescheduled performance - with dates yet to be announced - or request a refund.

Refunds will also be available to ticketholders for other rescheduled events if they cannot make the new date.

Fans will be contacted by their ticketseller about new dates and will be able to request a refund through them.

US-based venue operator Oak View Group said organisers would work with music managers and promoters to "limit the impact on the opening season schedule".

"Where necessary, we will identify alternate dates, and will continually reassess to provide fans with sufficient notice regarding imminent shows.

"Should shows be cancelled or rescheduled, fans will be contacted by their point of purchase and offered a full refund where preferred."

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What else have the groups behind the venue said?

The arena's general manager Gary Roden announced his resignation last month following the slew of issues.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of Oak View Group which developed Co-op Live in partnership with the City Football Group, said they could not run any event until it was "absolutely safe to do so".

"It was a very unexpected situation but without a doubt the right decision. I deeply apologise for the impact that this has had on ticketholders and fans," Mr Leiweke said.

A Co-op Group spokesperson said: "As naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live we are disappointed with these further schedule changes.

"Co-op is a sponsor and does not own or run the venue, and we have made it clear to Oak View Group, who are responsible for the building, that the impact on ticketholders must be addressed as a priority."