Manchester's Co-op Live arena finally opens after weeks of cancellations and setbacks

Manchester's beleaguered Co-op Live arena has finally officially opened its doors after weeks of setbacks, cancellations and postponements.

The venue was initially due to fully open with two Peter Kay stand-up shows on 23 and 24 April, but these dates were pushed back when problems emerged at a test event headlined by Ricky Astley.

The Co-op Live's new opening night was then due to be 1 May when US act A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie should have performed - but this was cancelled at the last minute as fans queued outside.

In the fortnight since, numerous other acts have been forced to postpone or move their Co-op Live gigs but the doors have finally opened to fans, with Manchester band Elbow taking to the stage this evening.

The show reportedly got under way a little late, with London band The WAEVE as the support act, the first to take to the stage as the massive arena began to fill with people.

Elbow took to the stage shortly after 9pm, with singer Guy Garvey shouting "let's open this venue properly", according to What's On Editor for the Manchester Evening News Jenna Campbell, writing on X.

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's last-minute cancellation two weeks ago came after part of the venue's ventilation and air conditioning system fell from the ceiling during a soundcheck.

The venue's boss said today that the accident could have been "catastrophic" if it had happened just 15 minutes later.

Read more: All the Co-op Live gigs cancelled or postponed

Tim Leiweke, chief executive of the arena's operator Oak View Group, told BBC News: "They didn't put the bolts in. It wasn't visible to the eye and it fell out.

"So we [have since] got that double checked and triple checked. We've looked at thousands of bolts up in that ceiling now. We've looked at the life safety lines. And we were going to take our time to make sure we did this right.

"There was no way we were opening the doors until we checked every screw and every bolt and every one of those 95 shafts."

A number of Elbow fans at the venue admitted they were feeling "apprehensive" ahead of the gig.

"When you go anywhere you want to know about the structural integrity of the place you're going to," said Samantha, 51, who did not want to share her surname.

"I know all venues have to start somewhere but as long as they say everything is fine, that's as reassuring as it can be."

With a capacity of 23,500, Co-op Live is the UK's latest indoor arena and it cost £365m to build.