Chaos @ Co-op Live—GM Quits Following Canceled Shows

Chaos at Co-op Live in Manchester
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Chaos at Co-op Live in Manchester
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Photo Credit: Mylo Kaye

As shows are canceled or reshuffled at the Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, the venue’s general manager has resigned.

Gary Roden quit his role just days after shows were canceled as the £365m ($455.95M) venue was not ready in time to host its first shows. Tickets for the first test event last week were also cancelled at the last moment to reduce capacity in the venue. Roden received backlash for comments he made to the BBC ahead of the venue’s grand opening.

In discussing the £1 subsidy from arena tickets to support local music venues, Roden said, “Why is a small venue failing? Ultimately if there are 1,000 venues one of them is going to be the best-run venue and one of them is going to be the poorly run venue—and where does the money go?”

Following those comments, the Co-op Live Arena issued a statement saying it did not “share the sentiment” expressed by Roden and that the venue itself “remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond.”

“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,” the Co-op Live statement continues. “To ensure we can run all shows safety, regretfully we have now had to take the decision to reschedule the planned The Black Keys and Peter Kay shows.”

Now the venue has announced that both The Black Keys and comedian Peter Kay have agreed to reschedule their shows. The Black Keys will perform on May 15, 2024, while Peter Kay will take the stage on May 23 & 24. All tickets for the shows remain valid, but refunds will be issued to those who can no longer attend.

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