Co-op Live Arena cancels debut show for third time just moments before show was set to begin

Granada Reports correspondent Tim Scott reports on what is happening at the UK's newest and largest arena

The opening of Co-op Live Arena has been postponed again after part of an air conditioning unit fell from the ceiling during sound check.

Fans of the opening act, the American rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie were queuing outside the venue, in Manchester, and were asked to leave the area.

The venue, which put out a message at 6.40pm on Wednesday, had already postponed its opening twice last week.

It has also now postponed two of Olivia Rodrigo's tour dates following a "venue-related technical issue", with the American singer-songwriter saying she is "so bummed" by the decision.

Fans that arrived for the A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig were told to leave. Credit: MEN Media

Organisers said: "Due to a venue-related technical issue, tonight’s A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show will no longer go ahead.

"We kindly ask fans to leave the area. Tickets holders will receive further information in due course.

We deeply apologise for the significant inconvenience this will cause for many."

In a statement Oak View Group who partially own the building said: "Due to a venue-related issue, tonight’s Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s headline show will no longer go ahead at Co-op Live.

"During soundcheck, a component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, used to direct air, separated from the ductwork.

"There was nobody injured. Although we believe this to be an isolated incident caused by a factory defect, we were not able to verify that all similar nozzles were free of such defects.

"In conjunction with wider stakeholders, Oak View Group has made the necessary call to ensure the full safety of all visitors to the venue, and to postpone the performance.

"In response, the installer, contractor and third-party inspector will now test each nozzle to confirm they are free of defect.

"We appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for many, and are deeply sorry for all those impacted.

"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."

Artist A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie posted on X that he was "heated with the situation" following the cancellation.

Tim Leiweke, Chairman and CEO, Oak View Group said: “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.”

Fans shared their disappointment at the gig's cancellation

Meanwhile, Meanwhile, the Co-operative Group said it was “disappointed” by the announcement and will seek a “full explanation” from the Oak View Group.

“As the naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live, we are shocked at the incident which has led to late cancellation of tonight’s show at the arena,” a Co-op Group spokesperson said.

“We are relieved that no-one has been injured, but we share the disappointment and frustration of ticket holders, many of whom are Co-op members, with the continuing delay to the opening of Co-op Live and the disruption that this is causing to everyone who has been looking forward to attending events.

“We will be seeking a full explanation from Oak View Group (OVG), who are responsible for the building, to the obvious questions arising from this, together with a clear plan from the Co-op Live venue management team at OVG for opening the venue and postponed and future events.

“Safety is, of course, the number one priority and it is critical that Co-op members and other ticket holders can enjoy events in a venue with the very highest levels of security and safety measures in place.”

Inside the Co-op Live Arena. Credit: ITV News

The £365 million arena has already postponed its opening twice after work failed to finish on time.

The original opening night, set for 23 April, was pushed back with just 24 hours' notice, resulting in the rescheduling of Bolton comedian Peter Kay's gigs and the resignation of the venue's manager Gary Roden.

Co-op Live Arena is the largest indoor arena in the UK, with a maximum capacity of 23,500 people and is located near Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

The next artist that was due to perform was Olivia Rodrigo on Friday 3 May and Saturday 4 May, but it's been confirmed that these concerts have also been cancelled.

Other artists set to perform at the arena include Liam Gallagher, Take That and Eric Clapton.

The MTV Europe Awards, which celebrates music and artists from across the globe, will be held this year at the arena on 10 November.

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