Peter Kay and Black Keys reschedule dates at Manchester arena after boss quits

Peter Kay and The Black Keys have rescheduled dates at the Manchester Co-op Arena due to the venue not being “ready”.

The £365 million arena’s general manager Gary Roden announced his resignation on Thursday after a slew of issues led to a delay in the opening of what will be the UK’s biggest indoor arena.

In an X post on Friday, comedian Kay wrote: “To everybody with tickets, my apologies once again but unfortunately the Co-op Live still isn’t ready and so, as yet, remains untested for a large-scale audience.

“Consequently, they are having to reschedule my two shows yet again (I know I can’t believe it either).”

Headaches for Co-op Arena became patently clear after capacity for a test event last Saturday was reduced with just hours’ notice.

The arena had announced on Monday that Kay’s performances would instead take place on April 29 and 30, with Kay saying he was “truly gutted” by the delay but the comedy gigs will now move to May 23 and May 24.

“Tickets will be transferred, or refunds given if the new dates aren’t suitable,” Kay said. “It’s very disappointing but your safety is important, and I won’t compromise that.”

In a post on X, Co-Op Live Arena said: “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.

“To ensure that we can run all shows safely, regretfully we have now had to take the decision to reschedule the planned The Black Keys and Peter Kay shows.”

The new date for the US rock band is May 15.

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

“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.”

On X, The Black Keys said: “We look forward to hitting the stage when everything is up and running.”

In a statement to the PA news agency, Co-op Live also said that there is “reassurance” for fans that dates for US rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, real name Julius Dubose, on May 1, and American singer Olivia Rodrigo’s performances on May 3 and 4 would be going ahead.

The chairman and chief executive of developer Oak View Group (OVG), Tim Leiweke, offered his “sincerest apologies to every fan that has been impacted by this decision and others this week” and joined his team “in thanking them for their continued patience and support as we prepare to open our doors”.

Co-op Live Arena confirmed to PA that Mr Roden had resigned, shortly after his comments to the BBC, in which he claimed grassroots music venues were often “poorly run”.

Rebecca Kane Burton, an ex-boss of London’s O2 Arena, has been announced as interim general manager.

Jessica Koravos, president of OVG International, said. “We’d like to thank Gary for his help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future.

The Music Venue Trust hit out at Mr Roden in a statement of its own, telling NME grassroots music venues are not “poorly run”, and it is “disrespectful and disingenuous to suggest otherwise”.

It added: “Obviously, the irony of making ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading comments about grassroots music venues on the day that the launch of their new arena has unfortunately fallen into such difficulties is not lost on anyone in the music industry, on artists, or on audiences.”

Ms Koravos responded saying that this was not a “sentiment” shared by the stadium.

She added: “Tim Leiweke has repeatedly stated, Co-op Live remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond, including teaming up with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham on the artist of the month campaign, and as a founding partner of Beyond The Music.”

A spokesman for the arena, which is next door to Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, said: “It is critical to ensure we have a consistent total power supply to our fully electric sustainable venue, the completion of which is a few days behind.

“Rescheduling gives us the extra time we need to continue testing thoroughly.

“This is vital to satisfy the rigorous set of guidelines and protocols that are necessary for a venue of this size.”

The venue, built by developer the Oak View Group, was given planning permission in 2020 and boasted an investment from popstar Harry Styles.