OVG reveals new founding partner for Co-op Live arena
Oak View Group (OVG) has announced Bristol Street Motors as a founding partner of the Co-op Live arena, opening in Manchester in 2023.
The partnership will see Bristol Street Motors as the Official Motor Retailer and auto partner for the venue, with exclusive naming rights to a 4,000-capacity space inside Co-op Live now known as ‘The Street’.
‘The Street’ will be the largest point of entry into the venue, boasting a 22 metre-long bar and vibrant food market where fans can meet before and after concerts.
“Within an arena that will deliver a world-class experience, The Street will be an inviting, fun and interactive place to meet up, aligning exactly with what we strive to provide customers within our dealerships across the country,” says Liz Cope, CMO of Bristol Street Motors.
‘The Street’ will be the largest point of entry into the venue, boasting a 22 metre-long bar and vibrant food market
“From showcasing some amazing cars to creating many exciting areas for the public to enjoy, we’re very excited to meet at The Street in 2023 and hope others will be too.”
Under the partnership, Bristol Street Motors will also provide a number of co-branded electric vehicles for use by artists, guests, and executive staff, in line with Co-op Live’s vision to become the UK’s first all-electric arena.
The arena has previously announced partnerships with Co-op (naming rights partner), Diageo (official drinks partner) and Guinness (official beer partner). The venue is backed by investors, OVG, City Football Group and international superstar Harry Styles.
The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live, based at the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands, is to be the UK’s biggest arena.
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Co-op Live to become UK’s first all-electric arena
Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens in 2023.
Against the backdrop of the COP26 climate summit, OVG says the venue has been designed “with sustainability at its core”, and will use electricity for everything from air-source heat pumps for heating and domestic hot water through to cooling and catering, without any gas supply serving the site.
The company adds that the current design achieves over 50% reduction in energy usage compared to a similar arenas, largely due to moving away from using gas boilers. Rooftop solar panels will be used to power day-to-day activity, with green electricity from the grid topping up capacity for events. The avoidance of on-site fuel burning, meanwhile, will significantly improve air quality.
“Climate change is the single largest problem facing the planet today and we take our responsibility in creating a greener world seriously,” says Mark Donnelly, COO, OVG International.
The design will enable a 23% reduction in carbon emissions and, by building electric-based infrastructure from the very beginning, the arena will be on track towards achieving net zero carbon by Manchester City Council’s 2038 target.
We are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events
“In Co-op Live, we are building a planet-friendly venue as well as one capable of hosting the world’s best events,” adds Donnelly. “I’m proud that it’s going to be the UK’s first all-electric arena and we’re also implementing a range of other features including solar panels, rainwater harvesting, and extensive green spaces to make sure it’s the UK’s most sustainable.”
It was confirmed last year that Harry Styles has made an investment in the the 23,500-capacity venue, which will be built on the Etihad Campus, the site of Manchester City FC’s Etihad Stadium in Eastlands.
Co-op Live will be the UK’s biggest arena and is around one year into its build phase. The project will inject £350 million of private investment into the local area.
Similar to how Battersea Power Station has been reinvented in London, OVG predicts that Co-op Live will serve as “an iconic landmark for the transformation and reimagination of post-industrial urban landscapes in the north”, upon completion.
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EAA adds arenas in Poland and the UK to membership
The European Arenas Association (EAA) is welcoming two new venues, taking the total membership to 36 arenas across 20 European countries.
Arena Gliwice, one of the largest and most modern sports and entertainment venues in Poland, has joined the association.
The Gliwice-based arena (cap. 17,000) opened in May 2018 and has since hosted more than 460 events in the region.
The purpose-built arena comprises two separate venues, Arena Glowna and Mala Arena, which each boast “cutting edge technology”.
According to newly elected EAA president Olivier Toth, Eastern European members now total almost 20% of the total membership.
ASM Global’s AO Arena in Manchester, UK, is also joining the membership.
At 21,000-capacity, the AO Arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the UK
At 21,000-capacity, the arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the UK and the second-highest in Europe.
Toth says the arena will bring “extensive know-how and experience” to the association.
“Also we are looking forward to following their progress as they transform into one of Europe’s most sustainable venues as a result of their current development plans,” he added.
James Allen, GM, AO Arena Manchester, says: “The long period of separation during the global pandemic has highlighted the necessity of collaboration in a supportive manner across Europe, which the EAA champions.
“Our new headline sponsor, AO has strong links with mainland Europe so it is only right that their arena does too. It is a privilege to have our membership application accepted and we look forward to being active members.”
The addition of Arena Gliwice and AO Arena Manchester comes after Spain’s Navarra Arena joined the association last month.
The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Mark Fletcher, Manchester Pride
The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.
The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Will Larnach-Jones, MD and head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves, here.
CEO, Manchester Pride Ltd
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
In 2018, I introduced the black and brown stripes to the rainbow element of the visual identity at Manchester Pride, drawing focus to the marginalisation and levels of racism experienced by LGBTQ+ people of colour. This sparked a global conversation that has highlighted the issues and led to the use of Daniel Quasars’ Progress Pride Flag to represent LGBTQ+ communities, recognising and calling out the added layers of discrimination faced by queer people of colour and trans people.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Always strive to be yourself, your whole self, with no apology.
Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
Over the years, it’s become clear that some agents don’t quite understand the modern Pride movement, how important it is and what it actually means for their artists. My team and I have had to persist despite being shut down and having doors closed in our face.
“I introduced the black and brown stripes to the rainbow flag…this sparked a global conversation”
More recently, seemingly spurred by the desire of artists to support our cause, we’re finding that our persistence has inspired change. Many are beginning to recognise the important social meaning behind a pride celebration and understanding the difference between our events and commercial music festivals. We’ve seen a positive change in more agents and management teams wanting to educate themselves on LGBTQ+ issues in order to better support the pride movement and their artists.
What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Support queer artists and take steps to recognise the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people today.
A cause you support.
The Keychange movement.
“We’ve seen a positive change in more agents and management teams wanting to educate themselves on LGBTQ+ issues”
What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Support queer artists and take steps to recognise the issues faced by LGBTQ+ people today.
What does the near future of the industry look like?
Right now, I’d really need a crystal ball to answer this question fully. What I can say is that the world has changed, the industry is fractured and it will take a lot of work to get the industry back to the level that we were used to and famed for within the UK.
How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
I’d like to think that the world was awakened during the pandemic. The industry was not a level playing field. I’d like to see a conscious effort made to encourage greater inclusions across the board and higher levels of respect for differences.
Manchester Arena attack: Inquiry publishes first report
There were multiple “missed opportunities” to prevent or minimise the impact of the Manchester Arena bombing May 2017, the public investigation into the attack has found.
The Manchester Arena Inquiry, led by chairman Sir John Saunders, today (17 June) published the first of three reports about the terror attack, which killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017. The report, which looks into security arrangements at the arena on the night of the bombing, concludes that bomber Salman Abedi should have been identified as a threat on the night of the attack.
In his 204-page report, Sir John found a number of security failures that he says would have reduced the impact of the bombing, if not prevented it completely. The “most striking missed opportunity”, the report details, came from a member of the public, who raised concerns to stewards about Abedi’s suspicious behaviour in the run-up to the attack.
Although the stewards, Mohammed Agha and Kyle Lawler, took steps to investigate the man’s concerns, with Lawler stating that he thought “there was something wrong” with Abedi’s behaviour and trying to get through to a superior on the radio, his efforts were ‘inadequate’, says Sir John.
While approach by a steward or BTP officer may have caused Abedi to detonate his device, “it is likely that fewer people would have been killed” than were on 22 May, says Sir John. (Abedi ultimately set off his bomb as fans were leaving the show.)
Other failings identified by the inquiry include the lack of British Transport Police (BTP) officers in the arena’s foyer, for which there was “no satisfactory explanation”; a CCTV blind spot near the arena’s City room that allowed Abedi to hide from security cameras; and inadequate counter-terrorism training given the stewards.
Sir John additionally found that after the Paris attack of November 2017, the arena’s operator, SMG, should have “sought to push the security perimeter out, beyond the City room” to make “hostile reconnaissance” of the arena (now called AO Arena) more difficult for Abedi.
“We are carefully reviewing the findings outlined in volume one of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report”
Among Sir John’s recommendations are passing ‘protect duty’ legislation (sometimes called ‘Martyn’s law’, after one of the victims) for large venues such as arenas which would require them to consider terrorist threats and implement further protective security and preparations.
The public inquiry was set up in September 2020 to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the bombing, and followed an earlier review headed by Lord Kerslake whose findings were published in March 2018. Though part one of Manchester Arena Inquiry says it holds BTP, SMG and security provider Showsec, “principally responsible for the missed opportunities”, the Kerslake report found that SMG and Showsec’s response to the attack went “above and beyond” the call of duty.
In a statement, SMG (now part of ASM Global), says that while security around live shows, and at Manchester Arena particularly, has “changed dramatically” since the 2017 attack, the company will take on board Sir John’s recommendations after having reviewed the full report in detail.
The statement reads: “On 22 May 2017, 22 innocent people tragically lost their lives and many others were injured when a terrorist detonated a bomb. The attack shocked the nation and the devastating impact was felt far beyond the city of Manchester.
“The impact was also felt across the industry and the environment in which we all operated changed dramatically that evening.
“Since the inquiry began, questions have been asked of SMG and others about the security operations in place that evening. Throughout, we’ve been committed to working with the inquiry to help the families of victims and survivors better understand the events of that evening, as well as look at the lessons learnt.
”During the inquiry process, the experts stated that they did not see evidence that the security operation in place at Manchester Arena was out of step with the operations being used at other comparable venues. In fact, the standards that we adopted were in line with published industry guidance at the time. However, this doesn’t give us any comfort. Our guests came to the arena to enjoy a show but were met with a horrific tragedy. For that we are truly sorry.
”All of us at Manchester Arena have learnt a lot since the events of that night and our security measures continue to evolve to reflect the threats we face today. Since the attack, we have further extended the security perimeter, adopted a more intensive approach to checking and searching including the use of walk through metal detectors and installed a new CCTV and access control system.
”All of us at Manchester Arena have learnt a lot since the events of that night”
“However, out of respect for those who tragically lost their lives on 22 May 2017, and those whose lives changed forever, we can never be satisfied that we have done enough. To that end, we will be reviewing the report findings in detail and the recommendations that have been put forward. Any additional actions we should take, we will take as we continuously challenge ourselves to be better.
“Finally, we share the chair’s admiration for those who responded so selflessly and heroically to this atrocity.”
“The chairman, Sir John Saunders, and the inquiry legal team have put an enormous amount of work and effort into this important public inquiry,” reads a statement from Showsec. “Showsec has learnt lessons from the terrible events of 22 May 2017 and, as the chairman has acknowledged, Showsec improvements are already in place.
“Having been provided with the first volume of the report, Showsec will take some time to consider both Sir John’s criticisms and his recommendations before responding as he has requested. As always, the families are at the forefront of our minds.”
Lucy D’Orsi, chief constable of the BTP, comments: “We are carefully reviewing the findings outlined in volume one of the Manchester Arena Inquiry report today.
“I would like to reassure everyone that British Transport Police, as you would expect, has been reviewing procedures, operational planning and training since this dreadful attack took place in 2017. We continue to work closely with our emergency service colleagues, Greater Manchester Police and other experts to strengthen our multi-agency preparedness for major incidents. We are committed to ensuring our staff are supported and prepared to undertake the roles they are required to do.
“We will never forget that 22 people tragically lost their lives following the truly evil actions of the attacker and many received life changing injuries . They continue to be at the forefront of our thoughts as are their loved ones and all those affected by this dreadful attack.”
City Football Group invests in UK’s Co-op Live arena
City Football Group (CFG), a global operator of football and sports-related business, has become Oak View Group’s (OVG) equal joint venture partner and investor in Co-op Live.
The Manchester venue has also attracted investment from pop star Harry Styles who acquired a minority stake in October 2020.
The arena, which at 23,500 capacity will be the UK’s largest, was given planning approval in September and is set to open on the Etihad Campus in 2023.
CFG, the lead developer of the Etihad Campus, will coordinate with OVG on jobs, sustainability and “advancing the campus as a global sport, leisure and entertainment destination”.
Tim Leiweke, co-founder and CEO at OVG, commented: “We are thrilled that CFG has chosen to invest in Co-op Live, and we can’t think of a better partner for this project. We are creating one of the world’s best arenas in Manchester. This venue will push the boundaries of live entertainment and be a significant source of opportunity for the city. We also know that this is precisely the right time to make such a substantial financial investment in Manchester, helping it build back from the terrible impact of Covid-19.
“With CFG as a JV partner, [we can create] a magical intersection of sports and entertainment that will be the envy of the world”
“The Etihad Campus was always a clear choice due to its proximity to the city centre and the opportunity to be part of a growing visitor destination with excellent existing transport links. With CFG as a JV partner, we can push the boundaries on how Co-op Live delivers for artists, every single fan, the UK’s music industry and the city by creating a magical intersection of sports, community and entertainment that will be the envy of the world.”
Marty Edelman, board director at CFG, commented: “Co-op Live unlocks the potential for the Etihad Campus to grow as an entertainment destination that creates more reasons for the nation and world to visit Manchester.
“The chairman and the board’s priority has always been to ensure Co-op Live seamlessly integrates with the campus and compliments Manchester’s city centre offer. As a joint venture partner and investor, we will ensure the Co-op Live becomes part of the fabric of East Manchester and delivers the fullest community and economic impact as Manchester, and the wider region builds back from Covid.”
Organisers of AJ Tracey Manchester gig fined £10,000
The organisers of a surprise AJ Tracey gig have been fined £10,000 after huge crowds gathered in a park in Manchester to see the rapper perform.
In a video posted on Twitter afterwards, the British rapper said that he hadn’t expected so many people to turn up to Platt Fields in south Manchester yesterday (18 April) afternoon.
I’ll be back when it’s safe to do so, sorry guys 🙏🏽♥️ pic.twitter.com/XpLcEyXt7J
— aj (@ajtracey) April 18, 2021
Photos and video footage show hundreds of people standing around basketball courts inside the park, with police appearing to monitor the situation.
Greater Manchester police have now confirmed a £10,000 fixed penalty notice has been issued to the organiser for breaching coronavirus legislation, the Manchester Evening News reported.
AJ Tracey in the building – showing love to Manchester! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾
Big up ✅✅ 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
The British rapper was reportedly in Birmingham beforehand and had planned to visit Bristol afterwards but has now cancelled the mini tour.
“Big love Manny [Manchester] and Brum [Birmingham], thank you for coming out. […] It’s not going to be safe for me to come to Bristol. I didn’t expect that many people to turn up in Manny and genuinely, yeah man, this is not okay for me to go ahead. I’m gonna head home to London,” AJ Tracey said in the video.
It is not known whether AJ Tracey performed in Birmingham, but he was spotted signing CDs of his new album Flu Game at record shop HMV.
— hmv Vault (@hmvVault) April 18, 2021
New outdoor venues promise UK fans summer of music
The UK will gain a number of new outdoor music venues from June, signalling growing optimism among promoters that they will be able to welcome fans back to shows before the summer is out.
Perhaps hoping to replicate the success of Newcastle’s Unity Arena, which hosted some of the UK’s only major live music events last summer, new open-air venues will host concerts and DJ performances as England reopens following the prime minister’s roadmap for summer 2021.
In the Bedfordshire countryside, promoter Labyrinth Events will exclusively present three festivals at Tofte Manor, a 17th-century manor house located near the village of Sharnbrook (but only a 35-minute train ride from London’s St Pancras).
No concerts have previously been staged at Tofte Manor, a favourite haunt of painter Abbott McNeill Whistler and home to a labyrinth (modelled on that of Chartes Cathedral) through which runs fresh water that will be served to guests.
Focused on dance music, the Labyrinth festivals, which will have a capacity of 3,500, will take place on 10 July, 7 August and 18 September, with more events planned for 2022. Tickets for the 2021 events go on sale on 1 April.
In a joint statement, Labyrinth’s Nick Castleman and Michael Dicks say: “Our business is built on the vision that fans want to experience music in unique settings. We want to find venues that truly excite our audience and allow us to work with some of the leading talent in the world. This venue is unlike anything that is possible to find in Greater London and gives us the opportunity to realise our vision, which is restricted when using limited-capacity venues in London and having to compete with corporate beasts for talent bookings.
“Tofte Manor … offers a totally unique music and lifestyle experience unlike anything else in the UK”
“Tofte Manor gives us the opportunity to move away from the crowded London scene and offer our audience a totally unique music and lifestyle experience unlike anything else in the UK. We will be working closely with the local community to ensure that the events generate as much revenue as possible to the surrounding villages of Sharnbrook and Souldrop and have nothing but a positive impact on the neighbourhood. We’re thrilled to be bringing globally recognised artists to Bedfordshire.”
In Manchester, Square One will transform a disused car park into a new open-air clubbing destination hosting weekly events from June.
Opening 26 June with launch parties featuring Denis Sulta, Mella Dee, Enzo Siragusa and Hot Since 82, owners promise “the absolute cream of national and international DJs” from dance music promoters including Zutekh, Jika Jika, Animal Crossing and Dutch label PIV.
“This one is for the dancers: a new venue with no nonsense,” reads a launch statement from the venue, located on Cakebread Street, near Manchester Piccadilly station. “Let’s make up for the lost memories and come together, a good and proper open-air affair. Summer is coming and the dance floor is ready.”
A similar outdoor dance music venue, Ernie’s Yard – comprising two event spaces, a food area and multiple bars – promises revellers in London 12-hour open-air parties from promoters including Secretsundaze, Art of Dark, Adonis, Percolate and Good Life.
The 12,000sqft (1,115m²) venue, run by the team behind Tottenham warehouse club the Cause, will open on 25 June in a former scrapyard in Canning Town, in London’s East End, with an 11pm licence.
“Summer is coming and the dance floor is ready”
Stuart Glen, Ernie’s Yard co-founder, says: “Back in 2019 we walked past a huge street food and drinks venue built from shipping containers and decided to have a pint. As we walked in, the bartender explained the lease was up on the site. I immediately thought: ‘This structure would be amazing for a party; maybe I can buy it and find some land to move it to.’ Two weeks later, we’d agreed to buy it, put a deposit down and had three months to seal the deal on some land I was after.
“[To cut a] long story short, two sites fell through and we’ve been juggling where to put 19 40-foot shipping containers for two years. It’s been a sticky situation, to say the least, but somehow we’ve managed to pull in some favours, met an East End legend called Ernie, and Bob’s your fathers brother: Ernie’s Yard – a killer new daytime space for London – was born.”
Also opening in London this year – albeit indoors – is Outernet, the music venue complex and entertainment district under construction in central London, which has appointed marketing veteran Joe Russell as events director.
James McEwan, COO of Outernet, comments: “We are delighted to have Joe join the team. Outernet districts will be destinations where people come to share incredible multi-sensory experiences, blending the digital and physical, [and] Joe will play a key role in helping us create those unprecedented audience connections.”
Outernet’s enormous main public space, dubbed the Now Building, will feature a four-storey, 360-degree, 16k interactive screen surface and be fully rigged to accommodate high-impact staging and production, creating “the most advanced experiential space in the world”, says Outernet. The venue, located near Tottenham Court Road tube station, is scheduled to open in winter 2021.“
Co-op Live Manchester makes senior hires
Co-op Live, the upcoming arena in Manchester, UK, has made its first three senior hires.
The appointments, announced today for International Women’s Day (8 March), are Sara Tomkins, who is the venue’s new marketing and CSR (corporate social responsibility) director; Katie Musham, who has been appointed head of partnerships; and Becci Thomson, who been named Co-op Live’s sales director.
The 23,500-capacity Co-op Live, which is being developed by Tim Leiweke-led Oak View Group (OVG), will become the UK’s largest arena when it opens in 2023. Construction is due to begin this spring.
Tomkins brings more than 20 years of brand-building in Manchester to the role, having formerly served as chief executive of GreaterSport, destination director for Marketing Manchester and assistant chief executive for marketing, communications and customer services at Manchester City Council.
“Our initial senior hires … demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group”
Musham has over 15 years’ experience working in venues in the UK and Australia, with previous roles at Wembley Arena, the O2 London, Perth Arena and Sydney’s SCG, while Thomson formerly led sales for special events at the O2 in London.
Jessica Koravos, co-chairperson of OVG International, says: “In Co-op Live we want to deliver a venue that brings the best possible experiences for fans and artists, while also making a positive impact on the local community and the planet around us.
“Our initial senior hires reflect our ambition to assemble an industry-leading team at Co-op Live and also demonstrate OVG’s plans to appoint talented women to key senior positions across the group as part of OVG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
“At OVG, we’re building exceptional teams at all of our venues around the world,” says Ann Jackson, chief people and culture officer of OVG. “I’m delighted to see three outstanding women join the Co-op Live team as our first recruits, and look forward to them helping deliver a new kind of arena that has diversity, inclusivity and sustainability at its heart.”
Manchester to gain Covid-compliant drive-in theatre
A new 800-capacity drive-in theatre is set to open in Manchester next year and will be permitted to operate even under tier 3 restrictions.
Manchester is once again subject to the toughest restrictions in the UK’s three-tier system – which came into force on Wednesday (2 December) after the national lockdown ended – due to the city’s ‘very high’ weekly cases rate.
However, come spring next year, locals can get their culture fix regardless of restrictions when the new DriveInside Theatre opens at the Trafford Centre.
A four-week run of shows will begin in March, with creators Beyond Theatre hosting more than 30 productions including Queen by Candlelight, Viva 4Ever and The Immersive Rocky Experience.
Creator of the venue, Paul Levin, says: “We are really an immersive theatre production company, but when Covid shut down our productions we started thinking about how we could put on live performances again.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer the lifeline of some real work for around 1,000 industry people”
“The DriveInside Theatre is our answer, and we cannot wait to bring the thrill and excitement of live events back to the people of Manchester.
“Our industry has suffered terribly throughout the pandemic. The vast majority of people working in theatre are contract based and usually supplement their income in slow periods by working in hospitality.
“With both industries being hit so hard we are absolutely thrilled to be able to offer the lifeline of some real work for around 1,000 industry people in Manchester next March.”
Ticket prices are per seat with a discount for three seats or more per vehicle. Each booking will be given its own parking space and adjacent viewing area beneath a 68,000 sq ft marquee, which will be the largest in Europe, according to organisers.
Visitors will be asked to leave their vehicles on the driver’s side to manage social distancing from other guests.
The format of the event is similar to that of the Virgin Money Unity Arena, the country’s first socially distanced arena which opened in Newcastle in August.