We took a trip over to East Manchester to have a sneak peek at how the city’s massive new music and entertainment arena Co-op Live is coming along — and it’s going to be mega.
Invited for a sneaky look on a rainy Wednesday afternoon (July 5th), we pulled up next to Etihad Stadium to notice another gigantic structure appear from behind it in the background, in the form of an enormous dark box — the new £365 million Co-op Live music arena, due to open in April 2024.
We entered the half-building site situated by the home of Manchester City, passing rows of construction workers all dressed in hi-vis jackets, protective hats and boots — and noticing various Northern accents being spoken.
The area was busy and there was already an energy about the place. We walked through pathways marked out for us to enter the enormous concrete and steel shell of a structure, towering over our heads.
Crowds of media organisations gathered in the centre of what will be the main arena hall, and construction workers sat in the surrounding stands, the scale of the place was beginning to sink in.
Next, the tunes started pumping as DJ Jenna G was providing all the tunes to get everyone excited for Co-op Live’s topping out ceremony — an age-old ceremony where the final beam or piece of a roof is placed on a building, to mark a milestone.
Glancing around the space, eyes expressed excitement as people chatted and took footage on their smartphones. Then entered the speakers at the ceremony, and the music lowered as they stepped onto the stage.
They celebrated that construction alone has generated more than 3,350 jobs with a further 2,000 roles set to be filled ahead of the venue’s opening.
Gary Roden, the Executive Director and General Manager at Co-op Live, welcomed us all to the event and confirmed that an opening date has been set for April next year for what is set to be the ‘biggest and best’ arena in Europe and the UK.
He said Co-op Live is a ‘venue for Manchester to be truly proud of’ and that it will also make a ‘giant impact on the world of entertainment, globally’.
He spoke of the effort involved to help bring the vision to life, ‘from the people that came up with the idea in the first place, through to the people that have designed the wonderful building’ through to all over the construction workers that have built it ‘up from the ground, day-to-day’.
Mr Roden also said how industry experts have been ‘amazed’ by the venue and that they have told him ‘they’ve never seen anything quite like this’.
Next up was Tim Leiweke, the CEO of Oak View Group, who spoke of how the arena will serve the people of Greater Manchester and the North West, using locally sourced food, workers and businesses, highlighting the positive impact it will have on local communities.
There has been some criticism about the new music arena wanting to make its venue more than just a place people go to see a concert and then leave afterwards.
This is because Co-op Live wants to provide all the before and after show experiences such as hotels, restaurants and bars, to keep people in the area rather than spilling out into the city centre and visiting those businesses.
In response to this, as well as dropping some vague hints about who Co-op Live’s opening act could be, Mr Leiweke said: “Ironically, the artist we’re trying to convince to come here first is an artist who isn’t touring. He’s one of the biggest artists in the world.
“The reason we’re trying to get him here first, to do a run, is because he’s going to fill up all the hotel rooms.”
He said he and his team started by thinking about how they could help draw more custom to the restaurants, hotels and retail around Manchester, rather than just the area around Etihad Campus.
Mr Leiweke added: “Co-op Live wanted to drive the economy for tourism and visitors for the city and for everybody in the city, so this isn’t just about Etihad Stadium Campus, this is about our thinking about how this building in particular draws 3 million people, and those 3 million people come from all over the world because Co-op live has a reputation of being the finest arena…”
He said the feature about the new venue that he’s most excited about is the sound quality, saying: “This building will be acoustically perfect and that’s the part nobody sees yet.”
When asked about transport links to help people to travel to and from the East of the city he added how they are committed to maintaining a green ethos and creating walking links, cycle links as well as encouraging use of the Metrolink and bus network.
He added: “We’re going to build a sustainable building here, so we’ll be carbon neutral within two years. Cars are my enemy.”
And to top the day off, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham dropped by to celebrate the milestone and the bright future in store for the city.
He said: “This is one of the things that I like most about this place when I heard all about it; that it wouldn’t just have the biggest names, the biggest acts in the world on stage here.
“Space is being created in the concourses and corners of the place to put on new and emerging acts of the city region.”
He added: “We’re all probably sometimes looking too much towards the past, we’ve got to look towards the future of this place; the future talent and love the fact that this arena will bring on the Manchester music of the future.
“As Greater Manchester we are so proud to have this venue at the heart of our city region. It will change this place for the better in so many ways in the years to come.”
Co-op Live will open its doors in April 2024. Artist announcements across opening season are expected to follow shortly.
James announce 40th anniversary tour with homecoming gig at Co-op Live
Sit down, we’ve got something to tell you… Co-op Live has announced the artist James will be heading to the huge new music-first arena during its epic opening season next year.
James will be heading to the stage at the £365 million venue as part of their 40th anniversary UK arena tour.
Performing live for their hometown, the ‘Sit Down’ hitmakers will play in Manchester on Friday, June 14th 2024.
James will be joined by popular UK band Razorlight, who’ll be sure to get guests excited for a night of great music and nostalgia for all to enjoy.
The exciting news coincides with the release of James’ 17th studio album in April 2024, the first single of which will be announced in January – with further details to follow soon.
One of Britain’s most enduring success stories, James have released 16 studio albums, selling over 25 million copies with their recent run of Top 5 albums proving to be a golden era for the band.
All The Colours Of You released in 2021 was their most critically acclaimed in years, preceded by Living in Extraordinary Times and Girl at the End of the World which narrowly missed out on the top spot in 2016 to Adele.
Iconic Manchester band James have now entered into a golden era, and will continue to do so in 2024 and for many more years to come.
Band members; Tim Booth, Jim Glennie, Saul Davies, Adrian Oxaal, David Baynton-Power, Mark Hunter, Andy Diagram, Chloe Alper, Deborah Knox-Hewson, are all looking forward to coming to the brand-new Co-op Live to perform for fans next year.
Singer Tim Booth says: “Deeply proud to announce that we are touring next year to coincide with the release of a rather wonderful new album that we are mixing this week.
“The new songs sound belting, and will fit this arena tour. Really looking forward to celebrating with you. Expect a mixture of the expected and unexpected – just like life. Nothing but love”.
Jim Glennie, says: “We are delighted to announce our 2024 Arena Tour, supported by the wonderful ‘Razorlight’. Come and share a night of biggies, rarities and a sizeable chunk of our exciting, next NEW album! See you there folks. With love, Jim from James”.
Co-op members will gain first-in-line access to tickets to see James at Co-op Live in Manchester through a designated presale from 9.30am on October 4th, 2023. General sale will then go live from 9.30am on Friday, October 6th.
Download the Co-op App now to become a member and receive some fantastic and exclusive benefits.
To become a member and enjoy access to presale tickets, click HERE.
Sample the world’s ‘most unusual’ wines and spirits at special tasting event
Sounds like my kind of ‘spirit journey’
Tipples invites you to grab a glass and sip away on a variety of wines and spirits at its celebratory event in Manchester.
Tipples are hosting a celebration of the ‘world of drinks’ at Albert Hall on Saturday, November 4th.
The winter showcase will see a wide variety of the ‘most unusual’ and ‘interesting’ wines and spirits across the globe, as well as being the perfect opportunity to purchase Christmas presents for loved ones in the run up to the big day.
The event will be split into two sessions, kicking off at 12.00pm and 5.00pm, featuring some of the newest wines and spirits, along with some of Tipples’ long-time favourites.
Upon arrival guests will be given a tasting glass, a bottle of water, and a floorplan as they go on a ‘spirit journey’.
They can then make their way around the space and approach any of the stands they like the look of and ask for a sample. It will be a great opportunity to learn a little more about the brands, and the brand reps will take care of the rest.
Guests will join the owners of Tipples, Greg and Tom, at their very first showcase to explore their range of some of the finest sips from over 40 brands covering over 300 products from here, there and everywhere.
Local Manchester based brands will also feature at the event including the likes of Manchester Gin and Pod Pea vodka.
And with all that sipping, guests are likely to get a little peckish. You’ll be delighted to know that a hot dog stand provided by Albert’s Schloss will be available for anyone who gets the munchies.
Bottles of fine wines and spirits will be available to purchase at the event, and will make an excellent Christmas present for the wine or spirit connoisseurs in your life.
Tipples is an independent city centre spirits shop and gin specialist stocking a wide range of spirits and liqueurs, including over 75 gins, which they pride themselves on.
They have a wide range of suppliers to ensure that their selection is as broad and comprehensive as possible, with over 500 products for customers to choose from.
Tickets for Tipples of Manchester’s ‘world of drinks’ showcase are £27.07. To find out more or purchase tickets, click HERE.
Chester Zoo launches new ‘mystical’ Halloween trail with ‘enchanted river boat ride’
Mind the hanging bats!
Chester Zoo has announced it is launching a new ‘mystical’ Halloween trail which features an ‘enchanted river boat ride’, just in time for October half term.
Luna’s Legendary Creature Halloween Trail will run throughout the whole of October, including half term and Halloween.
Event organisers say the ‘spellbinding route will see visitors encounter five magical species’ such as the majestic crowned pigeon, the super agile Sulawesi macaque and the strong Sunda gharial crocodile.
The ‘spooktastic’ journey will highlight deforestation and the importance of protecting the rainforest.
Visitors to the trail will go on a quest to collect key words about the unique qualities of each animal before helping Luna the witch discover a legendary creature living deep inside the charity zoo’s Monsoon Forest habitat – the UK’s biggest indoor zoological building.
Guests who unlock the secrets of the rainforest will receive a spooky Halloween treat – no tricks!
Newly added to the trail this year, will see guests able to hop onto Halloween-themed boats and take a ride on the Lazy River Boats where they can see hanging bats, skeletons and pumpkins along the way.
Ellie Trigg, Chester Zoo’s customer development manager, said: “There’s a special mystical quest across South East Asia to discover at the zoo this October. We need visitors to help us find ‘Luna’s Legendary Creature’ which holds the secret to protecting the rainforest.
“This new trail will take guests through our huge Monsoon Forest habitat, where visitors will be challenged with collecting a number of key words from five locations to complete their log book and help us discover Luna’s Legendary Creature.”
She added: “Halloween provides us with a great opportunity to highlight some of the world’s rarest animals, especially those that can sometimes be a little misunderstood or which often fly under the radar.
“This new trail will also show visitors how small actions, such as swapping a few items in their weekly shop to sustainable alternatives, can help the species found on the trail to thrive in the wild.”
The trail is free to all zoo visitors who purchase normal zoo tickets and no time slot booking needed. Visitors of the zoo can go on the trail at any time throughout the day – which takes around 90 minutes to complete.
To book tickets, costing from £22.72 for children and from £29.99 for adults, visit the website by clicking HERE. Children aged two and under go free.