Fans dismayed as Manchester's new Co-op Live arena cancels opening again

Fans outside the Co-op Arena.
Fans were left confused and disappointed after being handed a letter saying the gig was cancelled [BBC]

Fans have reacted with shock and confusion as Manchester's troubled new Co-op Live arena called off its opening concert at the last minute.

Thousands were queueing to see rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at the £365m venue when his show was cancelled.

One fan told the BBC it was "very unprofessional", while another criticised the "bad organisation".

The arena has had a series of problems, and later said Olivia Rodrigo's shows this weekend would also not go ahead.

Some fans outside the venue were handed a sheet of paper saying A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's gig had been cancelled for "technical reasons".

Jamie Cornwall, 21, from Lincoln
Fan Jamie Cornwall from Lincoln said he'd "got the day off for no point" [BBC]

Yasin, 20, told BBC Newsbeat he paid £25 for parking and arrived at the venue to be handed one of the pieces of paper.

He said: "I'm thinking, is this real? Why isn't it online? It was very unprofessional, I couldn't believe it almost, like is this the way we're finding out that it's been cancelled?"

Yasin said he had been looking forward to attending the show and had been listening to the rapper's music "on repeat" for two weeks.

"It makes me question future events, if they're going to be planned properly or if it's going to be organised enough", he added.

The venue later put the cancellation down to a part of the heating and ventilation system coming loose during the soundcheck before Wednesday's show.

Yasin, 20, who had tickets for the show.
Yasin paid £25 for parking before finding out the gig was cancelled [Handout]

Fan Katie Barnsley, who travelled up from Kent for the gig, found out it had been cancelled just as she was about to get a tram from Manchester city centre to the arena in the Etihad Campus.

The 28-year-old insurance broker had travelled up from near Dover with her partner and his sister, and estimated they had spent around £600 on tickets, accommodation and petrol.

She said: "We were going on the tram and were asking the attendant how we got to the campus and he said, 'Don't bother, it's been cancelled'.

"Then I went on Twitter and saw the tweet from the arena."

Ms Barnsley said she had been apprehensive about travelling to Manchester because of the cancellation of earlier gigs at the venue but had been reassured by recent tweets from Co-op Live saying other shows would be going ahead.

Comedian Peter Kay had been due to open the venue last week but his shows have now been postponed twice, while a concert by US rock band The Black Keys has also already been scrapped.

Some fans found out about Wednesday's cancellation on social media. The venue posted at 18:40 that the show would no longer go ahead - which was 10 minutes after doors had been due to open.

Others heard when the news spread by word of mouth outside.

"We found out from other members of the public telling us, to save us from queuing up - not that there were any actual management telling us," said Radhika, 17, from Manchester.

"I just think personally it's bad management, bad organisation."

The letter handed to fans outside the arena
A letter was handed to fans outside the arena [BBC]

Zack, also 17, had come from Blackpool for the show. "I'm on crutches and we queued up for about two hours, wasting our time," he said.

"They came out with these sheets of paper saying 'we're sorry about this', but we'd found out already from people shouting, people running around shouting that it's cancelled before they [the staff] even came out themselves."

Teoni Kirkham, 21, said: "We literally hopped out of our Uber and just saw everybody turning around and walking the opposite way. We found out literally when we got here.

"It's just messy, really. It seems like there's no organisation. With Ticketmaster on my phone, I thought, surely if it's been cancelled I would have got notification. They've not done a good job I don't think."

'Very last minute'

"We knew that the other ones had been cancelled last week," added Lucas Sheriff, who had travelled from Sheffield. "So we were a bit unsure whether this was going to get cancelled." The eventual announcement was "very last minute", he said.

"If we'd found out at least in the afternoon, we would have been a bit less disappointed."

Jamie Cornwall, 21, had come from Lincoln, and also found out on the way to the venue. "I got sent away by the security and told to go back home," he said.

"Technical issues? You'd think they would have solved that. I know a few events have already been cancelled. So it's not great. You see all these sad faces everywhere."

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie, real name Julius Dubose, wrote on social media: "Something happened with the venue while I was at soundcheck today that caused cancellation of the show.

"We are working on rescheduling in the next few days.

"I'm heated about the situation too, but safety first Manchester, I got you, just stay tuned for further info."

A spokesman for the venue said: "We appreciate the inconvenience this will cause for many, and are deeply sorry for all those impacted."