Manchester’s Co-Op Live boss is “not embarrassed” by gig postponements, as they “focus on ensuring a consistent total power supply”

Organisers at Manchester’s Co-Op Live Arena have shared a new update on the venue, saying that they are “not embarrassed” by recent gig postponements, and instead “focusing on ensuring a consistent total power supply”.

The new venue, which is the UK’s largest indoor arena, is located opposite Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, and features a “unique bowl design” that will bring fans “closer to the artist than at other arenas of equivalent size”, according to a spokesperson.

It was set to launch this week, with Bolton comedian Peter Kay scheduled to perform yesterday (April 23) and today (April 24). However, following a test gig featuring Rick Astley over the weekend, it was later decided that the dates would be moved to next Monday (April 29) and Tuesday (30) due to the venue’s power testing falling “a few days” behind schedule.

“Following our first test event on Saturday, regretfully we have made the difficult decision to reschedule our two opening performances by Peter Kay,” the venue said in a statement. “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.


“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.”

Now, the organisers at the arena have shared another update on the comedian’s shows and said that the postponement comes as they turn their focus to the power supply.

“We are focusing on ensuring a consistent total power supply to our venue, and testing thoroughly,” the update on Twitter/X read yesterday afternoon (April 23).


“We are preparing to welcome The Black Keys to Co-op Live on Saturday, and Peter Kay on Monday and Tuesday next week,” it added.

Similarly, in an appearance on BBC North West Tonight, Managing Director Tim Leiweke said he wasn’t “embarrassed” about the delay to the opening (via Manchester Evening News). “I think it’s a source of commitment to safety and expectations and trying to make sure that when people come in the building we do it right. We have work to do this week, we’re not embarrassed by moving Peter Kay.”

He continued, saying: “Peter Kay and us both agreed let’s be safe, let’s make sure it’s a great experience. [There is] hourly contact with police, fire department and city [council] on what we’ve gotta do to make sure this building’s right, and that’s what we’re gonna do.


“I feel terrible for [the concertgoers], but I will not put them in a bad situation here, so we’re gonna take another week and get this right. I’ve got a thousand people in here working today, we will get to the finish line but we will not open the building unless it’s safe.”

Refunds are available for ticketholders who can no longer attend the Peter Kay shows.

Stating that he was “truly gutted” about the postponement, the comic shared a statement reading: “I know how disappointing this will be for everyone with tickets, but obviously it’s a brand-new venue and it’s important that everything is finished and safe for full capacity audiences.”

Comedian Peter Kay performs live on stage during the Heroes Concert at Twickenham Stadium, in aid of the charity Help For Heroes, on September 12, 2010 in London, England.
Comedian Peter Kay performs live on stage during the Heroes Concert at Twickenham Stadium, in aid of the charity Help For Heroes, on September 12, 2010 in London, England. (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

As aforementioned, the 23,500-capacity arena held a test event on Saturday (April 20), where Rick Astley played to a crowd of 11,000. The reduced capacity was done in a bid to “enable [the organisers] to test the spaces effectively” ahead of the official opening.

Liam Gallagher, Take That, Nicki Minaj, Olivia Rodrigo and Keane are among the acts who have been announced to perform at Co-Op Live in the coming months. It’ll also stage the 2024 MTV European Music Awards later this year.

The launch of the venue comes after Co-Op Live and the existing, 21-000 capacity AO Arena in the city came to blows in a licensing row. ASM Global, which operates the latter venue, objected over “public safety” concerns and accused the application for a licence as being “simply unlawful”.

Despite the row, the venue officially had its licence granted last month.

The uncertainty about the venue’s opening also arrives shortly after the executive director of the site said that some smaller venues in the UK are “poorly run” and dismissed calls for a £1 ticket levy on all gigs arena-sized and above.

Gary Roden told the BBC he believes the levy is “too simplistic”, and says it should fall on the government rather than major arenas to support the live music ecosystem.

“If the conversation stops being ‘Give me a quid’ and quite aggressive – if it changed to be, ‘What can we do together to help?’, that’s where I think we start to get into that apprenticeship conversation and all those different things that we want to work through,” he said.

Co-op Live on April 20, 2024 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Co-op Live)

In response, Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, told NME that he believes Roden’s comments are “disrespectful and disingenuous”, while also highlighting the irony of making such “ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading” remarks on the week that their own venue was forced to postpone their own launch, due to a number of logistical problems.

“Fun facts of the morning: the new @TheCoopLive arena has 46 music events confirmed to take place this year so far,” he wrote. “The average age of the performers is 50 years old.”

“21.7 per cent of all the shows will be performed by artists over retirement age. 8.6 per cent of all the shows will be performed by artists under the age of 30. 17.3 per cent of all the shows will be performed by artists over the age of 75.”

He continued: “41.3 per cent of all the shows will feature a headline performance by a British artist. The average age of the British artists performing will be 52 years old. No British artist under 30 is confirmed to perform.

“The average length of time it takes for a British artist to be booked to headline the Coop Live Arena from the date of the release of their first album is 30 (THIRTY) years. No British artist that started their career in the last decade is booked to headline the arena.”

Davyd added: “Final Bonus Fact: Coop Live have publicly stated that they don’t believe there are problems with the UK music talent pipeline.”