It’s been a long time coming – but this Saturday, Manchester’s AO Arena will open its doors once again to a sell-out crowd of Blossoms fans as the Stockport indie band perform their first headline show at the iconic venue.
This means it’s been 78 weeks and a whopping 553 days since live music last rocked the arena.
Blossoms will take to the stage at their hometown arena to conclude their most recent UK tour, before they’re set to support fellow Manchester indie rockers Courteeners at Emirates Old Trafford later this month, and even join forces with Northern 80s pop icon Rick Astley for two intimate gigs playing only the songs of Manchester band The Smiths.
Blossoms’ most recent studio album, 2020’s Foolish Loving Spaces, went all the way to number one in the UK album chart.
The band have now sold 604,747 albums in their career to date worldwide, including more than 340,000 in the UK, and have amassed over 484 million global streams – 319 million of those streams in the UK.
Blossoms sell-out gig at the arena – which celebrated its 25th anniversary back in July 2020 – is also the first time the venue opens under new sponsorship, as back in September, 2020, it welcomed online electricals retailer AO as the new headline sponsor and rebranded as the AO Arena with a fresh new look.
The partnership is said to highlight AO’s commitment to bringing live music and entertainment back to the heart of Manchester.
As well as the Bolton-born brand’s famous green smile, visitors to the arena will have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences, as well as on the spot ‘surprise and delight’ activations on the arena’s concourse, courtesy of the retailer.
In preparation to make the event as inclusive as possible once doors reopen for the big welcome back, the venue has been working hard behind the scenes over the past few months, and back in June 2020, it was even awarded GOLD status by Attitude is Everything – the disability-led charity with over 20 years’ experience improving Deaf and disabled people’s access to live entertainment.
AO Arena has said that its number one priority for the Blossoms gig is making sure that everyone’s visit is as safe and enjoyable as possible, and so has activated its ‘VenueShield’ programme – a comprehensive and best-in-class hygiene protocol that’s in practise at more than 325 ASM Global facilities around the world.
And through the arena’s partnership with Unilever brand, Lifebuoy, there are plenty of hand sanitiser dispensers around the venue to make it easy for everyone to sanitise their hands as they move around the arena – which will “inspire confidence” in the return to live events.
As restrictions have been lifted, the venue is asking music fans to enjoy themselves on Saturday with consideration to others by wearing a mask if possible and being prepared to show, if requested by a member of staff, proof that they do not currently have COVID-19, or that they have had both doses of the vaccine, or that they have previously had COVID-19 within the last six months.
Also in the name of safety, specialist detection dogs will be helping the venue to deliver a safe and secure environment for all visitors and employees.
It’s going to be a heck of a return to live music on the biggest stage in Manchester.
Featured Image – AO Arena