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Nicki Minaj’s Co-op Live gig axed after drugs arrest

The American rapper didn't make it to Manchester in time for her concert on Saturday, which was postponed as she was due to take the stage

By Lisa Henderson on 27 May 2024

image © Wikimedia Commons/MTV International

Nicki Minaj’s concert at Manchester’s Co-op Live was called off at the last minute, following her arrest at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

The American rapper was arrested on suspicion of exporting soft drugs before being fined €350 and allowed to continue her journey, Dutch authorities said.

The artist didn’t make it to Manchester in time for her concert on Saturday (25 May), which was postponed just after 21:30 BST, with 20,000 fans in the arena waiting for her to take the stage.

On social media, Minaj said she was in a jail cell for between five and six hours, and finally arrived at her hotel in Manchester around midnight.

In a statement, promoters Live Nation said: “Nicki Minaj’s scheduled performance at Manchester’s Co-op Live on Saturday 25 May has been postponed.

“Tickets will remain valid for the rescheduled performance which will be announced as soon as possible.

“Despite Nicki’s best efforts to explore every possible avenue to make tonight’s show happen, the events of today have made it impossible. We are deeply disappointed by the inconvenience this has caused.”

Co-op Live posted the same statement.

Minaj continued her tour in Birmingham last night (26 May) and is due to visit London and Glasgow, before a second scheduled date in Manchester on Thursday.

It is the latest problem to hit the 23,500-cap Co-op Live, which has also been forced to postpone or move gigs by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Take That and Peter Kay in recent weeks after suffering a string of delays and technical problems.

The Oak View Group (OVG)-operated arena finally opened on 14 May for an opening performance by Manchester’s Elbow.

Co-op Live’s interim general manager, Rebecca Kane Burton, recently told OVG-owned publication VenuesNow that the venue is “all up and running and fully furnished”.

“We’ve had a natural ramp-up in terms of the capacities we’ve been hosting. Peter Kay was our biggest event (May 23-24). We had between 14,000 and 15,000 people – all of the levels in full use. All suites and premium areas have been working at full-tilt. There’s still work happening within the building, but it tends to be offices and back-of-house areas.”


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