“Manchester’s own Fyre Festival” – disappointed fans speak out on Co-Op Live cancellations

“Manchester’s own Fyre Festival” – disappointed fans speak out on Co-Op Live cancellations

Fans left angry and disappointed by the latest spate of Manchester’s Co-Op Live arena troubles and postponements have spoken to NME, dubbing the situation “just a joke at this point”.

Yesterday (May 1) thousands of people made their way, again, to Manchester’s new Co-Op Live, the recently-built “largest in-door arena” in the UK. With a grand opening that’s been marred by pushbacks, reschedules, controversial comments about grassroots venues being “poorly run”, and the executive director resigning: the new gig space has been beleaguered by a series of chaotic issues.

Aside from a test event featuring Rick Astley for which some tickets were cancelled, reducing the audience to 11,000, the venue has yet to run a show successfully on the day it was originally scheduled.

Artist’s impression of Co-op Live. CREDIT: Press

It was supposed to open with performances from Peter Kay on April 23 and 24, but the shows were moved to April 29 and 30 due to the venue’s power testing falling “a few days” behind schedule. Then a gig from The Black Keys that was scheduled for April 27 had to be moved to May 15, while the Peter Kay shows were moved again to later this month.

With A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie then falling as the opening act last night, the show was cancelled due to “a venue-related technical issue” just 10 minutes after doors opened – meaning there were already people outside the venue waiting to head in. This left many fans disappointed, frustrated and fed up.

“We travelled like two hours… it’s just poor, if you’re gonna cancel it, cancel beforehand, so we don’t spend money on getting here,” one fan told NME. “There’s thousands of people stood outside and you cancel it half an hour after the doors were meant to be open?” added her friend. “It’s stupid.”

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie performs live. CREDIT: Michael Loccisano/Getty

A spokesperson for the venue told Manchester Evening News that the technical issue was caused by part of an air conditioning unit falling from the gantry inside the venue during soundcheck. Fortunately, nobody was injured.

With Manchetser being a cultural hub for the surrounding area – and often the nearest touring spot for people travelling from neighbouring cities and North Wales – many fans had trekked fairly far for the the 23,500-capacity arena, located opposite the Etihad Stadium. One young woman, from Wales, was left abandoned after her mother had dropped her off and drove back home, the original plan being for someone else to pick her up after 11. “It’s a two hour drive,” she explained. “There’s nowhere for me to go.”

Others were left uncertain if they’d be likely to return to the venue.

“I found it really unprofessional,” said Mair, 18. “I’m supposed to be seeing Take That there next week and if that gets cancelled I don’t think the arena should be open for months. They should cancel all events. It’s just unprofessional.”

general view of Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, United Kingdom, on April 23, 2024. CREDIT: Ioannis Alexopoulos/Anadolu via Getty Images

Her friend Grace, 18, added: “It’s the money more than anything. A message the night before would’ve been alright so we didn’t have to spend so much money on everything – train tickets were like £30. They’ve had so many problems already. I doubt they wouldn’t have known about this.”

Having spent £80 on tickets already, some fans told NME that had already spent upwards on £130 just to attend the event – while others had spent more on hotels and accommodation that they wouldn’t be able to get refunded.

NME has contacted Co-Op Live for a response, and for if they might be providing any compensation.

“No one’s got high hopes for it anymore,” added Grace. “Everyone is doubting whether Olivia Rodrigo’s going to be on, Take That will be on…any future events, everyone’s just going to expect the worst. I wasn’t surprised that it got cancelled but it’s still a disappointing feeling.”

Olivia Rodrigo performs live at the 3 Arena on April 30, 2024 in Dublin. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images for LIVE Nation)

After weeks of recent troubles, the venue’s reputation led some fans to believe that the new of  Boogie Wit Da Hoodie cancellation was “a joke”, as one told, before “everyone was just fuming.”

“It feels like Manchester’s own Fyre Festival,” added Sam, 21, referring to scandal-hit festival made famous by Netflix. “It’s just a joke at this point.”

Last week, it was confirmed that Gary Roden, the boss of the new arena, had resigned following the plethora of issues.

Roden had come under fire in particular for his comments about grassroots music venues, arguing 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.

In response, Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, told NME that he believed Roden’s comments were “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.

It has since emerged that Co-Op Live bosses have agreed to meet Music Venue Trust to discuss ways to support grassroots gig spaces.

The next scheduled event for the Co-Op Live Arena is Keane on Sunday (May 5), with the likes Elbow, Eric Clapton, Nicki Minaj, Liam Gallagher, The Killers, Eagles, Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, Megan Thee Stallion, Smashing Pumpkins and Weezer also among other acts booked to perform at the venue in the coming months.

The post “Manchester’s own Fyre Festival” – disappointed fans speak out on Co-Op Live cancellations appeared first on NME.

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