Co-op Live: What is it? When will it open? What was cancelled? and more

Virgin Radio

2 May 2024, 13:52

Co-op Live arena

Credit: Getty

Manchester’s Co-op Live arena has been in the news over the last month for all the wrong reasons.

But what exactly is going on with the entertainment venue, which once opened will become the UK’s largest arena of its kind?

The Co-op Live arena was originally forced to disappoint fans by postponing planned gigs from acts including Peter Kay, A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo, but is now at last set to open with an Elbow gig on 14th May. Here’s everything we know about the venue’s failed opening weeks...

What is Co-op Live?

The Co-op Live is a brand new indoor entertainment arena based in East Manchester. Once open, the venue should feature 12 lounges, 28 premium suites, nightclubs, restaurants and space for around 23,500 ticket holders.

The venue began construction in 2021 and is estimated to have cost around £360 million to build.

In addition to the fact that once open, Co-op Live will become Britain’s biggest venue of its kind, the performance space also made headlines ahead of its opening week as Harry Styles is one of its partners and investors. 

What’s going on with the Co-op Live arena?

Manchester’s Co-op Live arena was due to open to the public on 23rd April 2024, with the first of two Peter Kay stand-up tour shows which ought to have been the first shows to take place at the venue. However, after a 21st April Rick Astley ‘test gig’ had its capacity reduced last minute due to safety concerns, it was revealed Kay’s two shows would also be being postponed.

“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,” Co-op Live said in a statement posted on their social media. “Rescheduling gives us the extra time we need to continue testing thoroughly. This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size.

At first, the arena told disappointed ticket holders Kay would instead be performing his shows on 29th and 30th April, but these along with a performance from US band The Black Keys, were delayed again later that week (26th April). Kay is now expected at the venue on 23rd and 24th May.

While the arena reassured fans at that time that early May shows from A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie and Olivia Rodrigo would still be taking plae, mere hours before A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s show was due to begin on 1st May, the venue revealed it was no longer going ahead “due to a venue-related technical issue”.

It was later revealed in a statement from Co-op Live’s partial venue owner Oak View Group: “During soundcheck, a component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, used to direct air, separated from the ductwork.”

Later that night (1st May) it was revealed Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS tour concerts were also being postponed “due to an ongoing venue-related technical issue,” meaning they would no longer be taking place on their planned performance dates of 3rd and 4th May.

What’s next for the Co-op Live arena?

Fans of acts due to perform at the Co-op Live arena in 2024 have understandably been concerned about what will happen with their shows.

After explaining the venue’s most recent problem in their recent statement, Oak View Group added: “We understand the need to reassure fans over future shows. We are working with artist management 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.”

Tim Leiweke, the group’s Chairman and CEO added: “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.”

When will Co-op Live open?

Co-op Live is now expected to open on 14th May, with an Elbow gig, after inspections of the arena announced they were "satisfied" with its safety.

Manchester City Council also provided reassurance, stating: "The venue has carried out the necessary investigations following the incident with their air ducting, providing reassurance that they have considered their duties under Health and Safety law."