In pictures – inside Manchester’s enormous new arena as the Co-op Live officially opens its doors

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 21st April 2024

At long last, Manchester’s huge new arena, the Co-op Live, is up and running.

The venue has been under construction near the Etihad Stadium for several years, and now the gargantuan space has hosted its first event.

Although the Co-op Live doesn’t officially launch until Tuesday, a test event last night saw Everything Everything and Rick Astley performing to a smaller crowd.

The £365m music venue is the largest indoor venue in the UK, with an overall capacity of 23,500 fans.

Not only has Harry Styles invested in the arena, he’s also consulted on several elements of the build.


It’s hoped that it will provide the best possible gig-going experience both for artists and fans.

And Harry popped up to say hello at the test event… via screen.


Other famous faces offering video endorsements included Phil Foden and David Beckham.

At last night’s test event, the first fans through the door were treated to a vast space bathed in blue (that might have something to do with its links to the City Football Group…) and got to see inside the huge arena space itself, which has the largest floor space of any indoor arena.

The Co-op Live isn’t actually quite finished yet – still to come will be 32 bars, restaurants and lounges around and inside the site.


And last night’s event didn’t go without its hiccups, with many fans finding that their tickets for Rick Astley had been cancelled with just hours to go.

Co-op Live said in a statement yesterday: “We’re busy putting the finishing touches on Co-op Live, and we are looking forward to Co-op Live becoming the pre-eminent arena in the UK upon opening.

“As a part of the opening process, we are in the midst of an extensive protocol of testing critical procedures. To enable us to test the spaces effectively, we have made the difficult decision to reduce overall capacity for today’s test event.

“We apologise to affected guests and look forward to welcoming them to The Black Keys.”

After the official launch on Tuesday 23 April, acts lined up in the coming weeks will include Take That, Olivia Rodrigo, The Black Keys and Nicki Minaj.

You can see a full tour of inside the new Co-op Live arena below:

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Featured image: The Manc Group