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Peter Kay and Black Keys reschedule dates at Manchester’s new Co-op arena after boss quits

1 month ago

Peter Kay and Black Keys reschedule dates at Manchester’s new Co-op arena after boss quits

Manchester’s new Co-op Arena initially faced problems after capacity for a test event last Saturday was reduced with just hours’ notice.

Peter Kay and The Black Keys have rescheduled dates at the Manchester Co-op Arena due to the venue not being “ready”.

The £365 million arena’s general manager Gary Roden announced his resignation on Thursday after a slew of issues led to a delay in the opening of what will be the UK’s biggest indoor arena.

In an X post on Friday, comedian Kay wrote: “To everybody with tickets, my apologies once again but unfortunately the Co-op Live still isn’t ready and so, as yet, remains untested for a large-scale audience.

“Consequently, they are having to reschedule my two shows yet again (I know I can’t believe it either).”

Headaches for Co-op Arena became patently clear after capacity for a test event last Saturday was reduced with just hours’ notice.

The arena had announced on Monday that Kay’s performances would instead take place on April 29 and 30, with Kay saying he was “truly gutted” by the delay but the comedy gigs will now move to May 23 and May 24.

“Tickets will be transferred, or refunds given if the new dates aren’t suitable,” Kay said. “It’s very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won’t compromise that.”

In a post on X, Co-Op Live Arena said: “Since making the difficult decision to postpone the live shows at Co- op Live due to take place this week, we have been undertaking an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures to ensure all areas are ready for fans.

“To ensure that we can run all shows safely, regretfully we have now had to take the decision to reschedule the planned The Black Keys and Peter Kay shows.”

Co Op Arena - The Guide Liverpool
Comedian Peter Kay. Picture – Peter Byrne/PA

The new date for the US rock band is May 15.

“Rescheduling Peter Kay and The Black Keys will give us the extra time we need to continue testing enhanced emergency communications thoroughly,” the venue also said.

“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.”

Co-op Live Arena confirmed to the BBC that Roden had resigned, shortly after his comments to the broadcaster, in which he claimed grassroots music venues were often “poorly run”.

A statement from the arena to the BBC said it does not “share the sentiment” expressed by its now-former general manager and that “Co-op Live remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond”.

The statement also thanked Mr Roden for his “help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future”.

As per the statement to the BBC, Rebecca Kane Burton, an ex-boss of London’s O2 Arena, will step in as interim general manager.

The Music Venue Trust hit out at Mr Roden in a statement of its own, telling NME grassroots music venues are not “poorly run”, and it is “disrespectful and disingenuous to suggest otherwise”.

It added: “Obviously, the irony of making ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading comments about grassroots music venues on the day that the launch of their new arena has unfortunately fallen into such difficulties is not lost on anyone in the music industry, on artists, or on audiences.”

A spokesman for the arena, which is next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, said: “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.”

The venue, built by developer the Oak View Group, was given planning permission in 2020 and boasted an investment from popstar Harry Styles.

The PA news agency has approached Co-op Live for comment.

Get the latest music news for the North West HERE.

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