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We are Manchester: Extra security for benefit concert as Manchester Arena reopens after terror attack

Noel Gallagher is headlining the benefit concert which will raise money for a permanent memorial to the victims

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Saturday 09 September 2017 10:02
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Other stars including Russell Kane, Peter Kay and the Courteeners will perform at the event
Other stars including Russell Kane, Peter Kay and the Courteeners will perform at the event

Manchester Arena will have extra security measures in place as it reopens with a special benefit concert tonight.

The venue is hosting its first event since the bomb attack on 22 May which left 22 people dead and many more injured, when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a homemade device in the foyer following an Ariana Grande concert.

Noel Gallagher will headline the 'We Are Manchester' show on 9 September, along with bands such as the Courteeners, poet Tony Walsh, and comedian Peter Kay.

Gallagher's performance will hold particular significance, due to how the Oasis classic "Don't Look Back In Anger" became an anthem for peace following the attack, and was sung spontaneously at vigils for victims.

Doors open at 5pm and people arriving will be required to go through additional security and screening, the arena has confirmed.

No backpacks or bags larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm will be allowed inside the venue.

​Two main entrances will be open: Hunts Banks outside Victoria Station, with entrance points on the approach from both Victoria and Deansgate.

The second entrance is through City Room, accessed via Victoria Station concourse, which is still undergoing renovation.

On 8 September, survivors and families of the victims made a private visit to the arena, ahead of its reopening event.

An image showing the refurbished foyer was also released by the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation, which supported the families during the visit.

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Comedian Russell Kane, who is hosting the event, told Sky News: “I like to think this show is typical of the British spirit, the way we hit back.

“When I was little my Great Nan used to tell me: 'During the war we didn't sit around counting our rations. If the Germans bombed us we were down in the tunnel and had a sing-song'... that is the British spirit.

“We pick up our guitars if we're Noel Gallagher, we pick up our microphones and tell jokes if we're Russell Kane, and we have a gig, we have music, and we show how strong we are.”

James Allen, general manager of the arena, said the event would be “emotional for everybody”.

“Not only will we have our staff here, we will have people who were here on the night and have bought a ticket to come back. We will have people who have bought a ticket because they want to be here.”

"What we're hoping to do is give people confidence to come back to the arena,” he said. “Not just for [tonight], but going forward and finding that they will have a safe environment to come into.

"Outside the building especially, there will be a lot more security. Inside the building it will be business as usual."

"I'm hoping for a fantastic night," he added. "We are here to not only to reopen the building, but we're here to remember what has gone on and really celebrate Manchester's music scene."

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said the reopening was an important event that would bring people together to remember those affected by the attack.

”This is the strongest possible statement that we can make to those that peddle hate,“ he said. ”They will not change us, we will continue to stand together. They will never change Manchester.“

All profits from the concert will go towards establishing a permanent memorial to the victims, which will be built by the new Manchester Memorial Fund.

The concert will be broadcast live on three radio stations.

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