Take That move Co-op Live shows to rival arena after chaos

Take That on stage
The legendary boy band were due to perform five shows at the Co-op Live arena next week [Getty Images]

Take That have become the latest act to move shows from the troubled Co-op Live arena amid a series of "technical issues".

Rival venue the AO Arena confirmed it would now host the band's five dates next week amid 24 hours of chaos for Manchester's new £365m venue.

The rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie also earlier announced a switch to the AO, and band Keane cancelled a show.

Popstar Olivia Rodrigo also had a forthcoming concert cancelled.

In a new statement, Co-op Live said it would be taking a "short pause" and would welcome members of the public to the arena from 14 May.

It said it was taking a break to "ensure the safety and security of fans and artists visiting the venue".

Oak View Group, which owns the arena, has blamed defects with parts of its ventilation system for the cancellations.

Posting on X, Take That said: "This is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we wanted to give our fans as much notice as possible."

On Wednesday, hundreds of fans who went to the A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig found out the show had been axed as they queued up outside.

Co-op Live arena in Manchester
The arena is part of a development around Manchester City's Etihad Stadium [BBC]

The rapper, real name Julius Dubose, said: "Yesterday's cancelled Manchester show has been rescheduled for this Saturday at AO Arena! We won't give up that easy let's go!".

Signs that all was not well at the new arena emerged when it first cancelled what was supposed to be its inaugural act, a gig by comedian Peter Kay.

According to the company, a nozzle used in the building's ventilation system became detached during a sound-check because of what it believed was a "factory defect".

When staff could not guarantee other components were free of similar defects, OVG said it was left with no choice but to cancel.


By Ian Youngs, Culture reporter

The Take That announcement comes after a succession of highly embarrassing postponements and problems for Co-op Live.

But losing a residency by one of Britain's biggest bands - and local heroes - to its rival venue will arguably be seen as the biggest humiliation of the lot.

In a BBC interview in March, Co-op Live general manager Gary Roden - who has since resigned because of all the issues - spoke dismissively about the AO Arena, saying music stars would prefer to play at his newer venue.

"It's going to be difficult for an artist to say, 'Yeah, I've booked the arena that is 30 years old versus the arena that's brand new'," he said.

But now, stars are turning back to the tried and trusted AO, which has been operating under a variety of names since 1995.

Co-op Live said it was working "incredibly hard" to get the venue up and running for what remains of its opening season.

The statement continued: "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."

Fans outside the Co-op Arena.
Fans were left confused and disappointed after being handed a letter saying Wednesday's A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig had been cancelled [BBC]

Fans left in the lurch by Wednesday's last minute cancellation expressed concern about future events at the arena, which is now the UK's largest.

Yasin, 20, told the BBC he paid £25 for parking and arrived at the venue only to be handed a piece of paper saying the A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie gig was off.

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?

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

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie has re-scheduled his cancelled gig [AFP]

The Co-operative Group, which is the naming rights sponsor for the venue, said it was "disappointed" by the further schedule changes.

A spokesman said: "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."

AO arena's general manager Jen Mitchell said it was "great" to be welcoming Take That to the venue "for five nights in the heart of this wonderful city".

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