Take That become latest act to cancel shows at crisis-hit Co-op Live arena

Take That have announced they will not perform at Manchester’s new Co-Op Live arena due to “ongoing technical issues”.

The band had been scheduled to sing at the beleaguered venue from Tuesday (7 May) but will instead take their shows to rival event space AO Arena.

In a statement on Instagram, Take That told fans they’d opted to make the move in order to “minimise inconvenience” for ticket holders.

“Given the ongoing technical issues around the opening of Co-op Live we have taken the difficult decision to move our May shows to the AO Arena where we have enjoyed many great nights over the years,” they wrote.

The “Patience” boy band added the decision was not “taken lightly” but wanted to “give our fans as much notice as possible.”

“Our dates in June in Manchester remain unaffected,” they said.

The announcement came shortly after British pop rock group Keane, who were supposed to perform on Sunday, postponed their gig due to issues “entirely beyond our control”.

Keane, who are celebrating 20 years of their debut album Hopes And Fears, said they were “really disappointed” and “doing all we can to reschedule the show”.

Adding to the litany of problems at the troubled Manchester venue, US musician Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts tour performances, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, were also cancelled on Wednesday.

News of Rodrigo’s gig cancellations came soon after rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie’s show was cancelled 10 minutes after doors were set to open, after an AC vent detached from the ceiling during sound check. The rapper’s gig has also moved to the AO Arena and is slated for Saturday.

Manchester Co-op Live has postponed Olivia Rodrigo’s world tour performances (PA Archive)
Manchester Co-op Live has postponed Olivia Rodrigo’s world tour performances (PA Archive)

The Co-op Live arena, which has had its opening postponed several times, said in a statement that it will be taking “a short pause to events” before welcoming the public from 14 May.

In a statement on X, Co-op Live said: “Following the events that led to the cancelled A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show on 1 May, we have decided to take a short pause to events at Co-op Live to fully ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue.

“This time will allow for an independent inspection of all elements of the arena ceiling.

“At this time, we do not expect further impact on our opening season. We are aware our actions have frustrated and angered ticket-holders. We know you’ve incurred significant disruption, and are finding a way to help make it right.”

“We are taking the pause to think about the best ways to do that.”

Tim Leiweke, chairman and chief executive of the Oak View Group, which owns the venue, apologised for the delays and to “all those that have been affected”.

“As many of you will know, it’s not been the smooth start we had planned for, and I know that has caused a huge amount of disruption and frustration to thousands of people,” he said.

“On behalf of all of us at Oak View Group, I’d like to express my sincere apologies to all those that have been affected.”

“I’d like to reiterate my sincerest apologies to everyone that has been affected by the delays around the opening of Co-op Live.”

“The team here is working incredibly hard to get the building up and running, and we look forward to welcoming you to the arena from 14 May 2024.”

The £365m venue, the largest indoor arena in the UK, was supposed to be opened by comedian Peter Kay last week but the opening had to be postponed twice.

Kay’s shows have now been rescheduled to 23 and 24 May.

Rick Astley played a ‘test run’ gig at the new Manchester Co-op Live arena (Getty)
Rick Astley played a ‘test run’ gig at the new Manchester Co-op Live arena (Getty)

Musician Rick Astley performed on 20 April to about 11,000 arena workers, VIPs and press for the free test event, but nearly 4,000 tickets were cancelled.

The venue apologised and said “testing critical procedures” meant they had to reduce capacity for the event. Ticket holders were told they could attend a show by US rock duo The Black Keys the following week, but that show too was postponed until 15 May.

Last week, Gary Roden quit as general manager amid the chaos and invited heavy criticism for suggesting that some small venues were “poorly run” and arguing that a proposed £1 ticket levy to help support them was “too simplistic”.

A view of the Co-op Live arena in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)
A view of the Co-op Live arena in Manchester (Peter Byrne/PA Wire)

A spokesperson for the Co-op Group, the new arena’s sponsor, said: “As naming rights sponsor for Co-op Live we are disappointed with these further schedule changes. We fully appreciate and understand the impact and upset the delays have caused to ticket holders and our Co-op members.”

“Co-op is a sponsor and does not own or run the venue, and we have made it clear to Oak View Group, who are responsible for the building, that the impact on ticketholders must be addressed as a priority.”

“We are pleased that they will shortly be putting plans in place to do so.”

“We also understand that the necessary safety checks following yesterday’s incident are being completed and independently verified so that Co-op members and other ticket holders can be reassured that the venue has the very highest levels of security and safety measures.”