Peter Kay forced to cancel gigs again as Co-op Live arena boss quits

Peter Kay has been forced to cancel two-sold out Manchester dates for a second time as venue Co-op Live continues to be plagued with problems.

It comes as the general manager of the £365m arena, Gary Roden, resigned yesterday after the comedian was forced to cancel gigs at the venue following technical complications, earlier this week.

“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,” Kay wrote in a post on X/Twitter.

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

Safety concerns and delayed power tests meant both gigs were intially pushed back to 29 and 30 April but have now been moved to next month with gigs listed for 23 and 24 May.

“Tickets will be transferred, or refunds given if the new dates aren’t suitable,” wrote the comedian.

Roden, who also served as executive director of the arena, stepped down from his position on Thursday (25 April) after a series of problems with its long-awaited launch.

In addition to technical difficulties, Roden had received backlash for comments made to the BBC, in which he criticised smaller music venues for being “poorly run” – a statement from the venue said it did not “share the sentiment” expressed and “Co-op Live remains committed to grassroots music in Manchester and beyond”.

A spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News: “Gary Roden has decided to resign. 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.”

Kay rescheduled two sold-out Manchester dates earlier this week after it was planned that the comedian would be the first performer to grace the stage of the new 23,500 capacity Manchester arena Co-op Live.

Gary Roden has stepped down following a series of issues (Getty Images)
Gary Roden has stepped down following a series of issues (Getty Images)

But after the venue faced complications at a Rick Astley test event on Saturday (20 April), it issued an apology saying that Kay’s performances had been pushed back.

Kay’s two dates were moved from Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 April, to Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 April.

The comedian said in a statement: “I’m truly gutted as I know how disappointing this will be for everyone with tickets, but obviously it’s a brand-new venue and it’s important that everything is finished and safe for full-capacity audiences.

“Fortunately, we’ve been able to reschedule the shows to next week, (I’ll have to miss my Bums & Tums class) but hopefully I’ll see you then.”

A spokesperson for the venue said: “Following our first test event on Saturday, regretfully we have made the difficult decision to reschedule our two opening performances by Peter Kay. These dates will move from 23 April and 24 Wednesday to Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 April.”

The venue is fully electric but faced difficulties in keeping its power supply consistent in time for its opening.

The arena, which looks like a giant black box, has been built by City Football Group - owned by billionaire UAE royal and deputy prime minister Sheikh Mansour - and Oakview Music Group, co-founded by US music mogul Irving Azoff.

Harry Styles invested in the stadium and advised on some elements of its design. Local artist Liam Gallagher, the former Oasis frontman, Olivia Rodrigo, Take That and Eric Clapton are among some of the other musicians set to play there.