Co-op Live's official opening will now be May 1. Credit: via Blakeney Group

Co-op Live delays opening again amid safety concerns

The developer behind the 23,500-capacity venue has announced further delays and the resignation of its general manager as a tumultuous week for the £350m Manchester arena draws to a close.

Teething problems related to the internal communications systems, fire safety, and internal security emerged at a test event last Saturday.

As a result, Co-op Live pushed two Peter Kay gigs planned for 23rd and 24th April back a week. The venue has announced today that those shows will now take place on 23rd and 24th May, a month later than planned.

This Saturday’s Black Keys gig, which Co-op Live insisted earlier this week would still go ahead as planned, has also been moved. It will take place on 15 May.

The opening performance will now be A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie on Wednesday 1 May.

The additional delays will provide more time to “continue testing enhanced emergency communications and measures thoroughly”, according to a statement by the venue’s developer Oak View Group.

“This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size to ensure that our fans, artists and staff have the safest experience possible,” the statement added.

Amid the turmoil of launch week, Co-op Live general manager Gary Roden has resigned. Rebecca Kane Burton, who has previously worked at London’s O2 Arena, has stepped in as interim GM.

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of Oak View Group, has said sorry to fans.

“I would like to offer my sincerest apologies to every fan that has been impacted by this decision and others this week, and join the full team in thanking them for their continued patience and support as we prepare to open our doors.

“It’s always been very important to me that we only open Co-op Live when it is safe and appropriate to do so, and rescheduling The Black Keys and Peter Kay gives the dedicated team the time and space needed to finalise systems and measures.”

Headline sponsor Co-op Group, which signed a £100m naming rights deal in 2020 has also spoken out about the delays.

“We are very disappointed in the delayed opening of the venue and fully recognise the disruption this has caused to affected ticket holders, many of whom are Co-op members.

“Co-op Live is an incredible venue and is a force for good for Manchester, our region and the UK as a whole. We look forward to seeing the venue fully open in accordance with the timescales provided by OVG today.”

A joint statement from Manchester City Council, Greater Manchester Police, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and North West Ambulance Service said:

“As a whole group, we support the decision of Co-op Live to step down the event tomorrow, and we will continue to work together as they move to completion. We have discussed with the Co-op Live venue this week the actions that they needed to take ahead of their planned public opening and while a considerable amount of work has taken place, and learning taken from last week’s test event, we all agree that there is more to complete before the venue can welcome audiences safely.

“Whilst we understand this will be disappointing, we cannot compromise on public safety. Our focus is, and always will be, the wellbeing of residents and visitors to our city. Following last Saturday’s test event, where temporary mitigations were put in place, we were assured that our concerns about the venue would be addressed before a public opening. That work is continuing as they move to welcoming events with larger audience numbers.

“The elements outstanding include a fully tested emergency services communication system, and some remaining internal security systems, and fire safety measures.

“Work is progressing quickly in all of these areas, and all partners involved look forward to the venue being open and able to welcome guests safely once they are completed.”

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Oh dear

By Gilly

After refusing to work with the music venue trust because they don’t need to be part of the ecosystem and smaller venues are badly managed they claim, it’s funny to see this, very bad for the co-op brand.


Again a lot of green eyes seem to be on this with people revelling in what is happening. Ok its delayed by a few weeks but it will be open soon and is going to be superb. So many things already signed up

By Bob

What a joke

By Anonymous

Running this story is a parallel to the national news story. There is nothing here that separates the regional interest from the national headline that focusses on internationally known names / brands etc. there is no celebratory inference about the commitment to develop a world class venue in Manchester, no cross reference to the planned tours that re-route gigs and performances away from London, no mention of the beneficial economic impact that the arena will have on the wider economy and no mention of how the arena places Manchester at the forefront of the list of cities to host major entertainment events. The difficulties of opening dates should be placed in the context of the above rather than re-writing a gossip fuelled agenda that at the national agenda speaks more against Manchester than for it.

By Jeremy Hinds

Pretty sure the Nynex (AO) had similar problems many years ago when it opened. Get it sorted, get it opened…no problem.

By Project Paul

Re Bob… totally agree. It’s going to be a fantastic addition to the City.

By Peter Chapman

Potential employee a complete lack of coordination, organisation, and definitely no communication

By Anonymous

The building was late on groundworks. It’s had a knock on effect. The opening should have been pushed back. But it wasn’t. I’m working on it. It’s still an impressive venue.

By Anonymous

It’s embarrassing

By Anonymous

I am sure that the developers are having to pay huge penalty fines for overturning the agreed completion date. However safety must be paramount and the building should not be occupied until all the mandatory certificates of completion are in place including the Architects and Fire Officers certificates and most important Manchester City Council Planning and Building Control and not by third party appointed Consultants that might not exist in a year or so.

By Mr Paul Griffiths

I see that bloke who’s permanently embarrassed is back in the comments. Now that’s embarrassing.😉


I for one can’t wait to visit the Clayton Arena.

By Anonymous

Remember the problems with the opening of the millennium dome (the O2) in London? Now nobody cares about the problems it is seen as a world class venue, the same will be said of the co-op Live in the very near future.

By Anonymous

That’s a lot of seats to fill. Lucky it’s in Manchester!

By Anonymous

The usual triumphalism from everyone else because for once Manchester didn’t grind the banana skins into the ground. This will be a massive success. There are always teething problems with these venues. The line up is astonishing. Stevie Nicks, Harry Styles, Steely Dan, Barry Manilow and the Eagles, as well as the Manc bands, and Peter Kay. This is in another league to any regional venue. The money this will generate for the city is going to be immense. When City are at home, plus this there will be over 100.000 people descending on this area, in one day. Metrolink must be rubbing their hands with glee.

By Elephant

People clearly don’t understand reality of music business Large indoor venues are doomed because they rely mostly on quite old performers to attract crowds and those artists are rapidly dying of and there are zero young artists that could fill a venue this size.Unfortunately the provincial property industry is still stuck in the last century and is totally out of touch with the wishes and desires of young people which doesn’t involve watching dinosaurs like Peter Kay or Stevie Nicks.

By Greg Smith

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