Rick Astley fans let down after thousands of tickets at Manchester arena cancelled at last minute

‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ star played a test run gig at the new venue in Manchester over the weekend

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 22 April 2024 09:09 BST
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Rick Astley covers AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' on drums during impressive Glastonbury set

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Rick Astley fans have expressed their anger after they were let down by ticket cancellations just an hour before the singer’s show in Manchester.

Concert-goers planning to attend the gig at the Co-op Live arena took to social media to complain that they had been given the run around on Saturday (20 April).

Astley, who rose to fame in the Eighties with hits such as “Never Gonna Give You Up”, was the first artist to perform at the new 23,500-capacity venue, the UK’s largest arena.

Organisers apologised for deserting fans over the weekend, saying the “difficult” decision to cut capacity was made in order to allow them to test the venue “effectively”.

Fans took to social media to vent their fury after receiving an email about the cancellations.

Byron Edwards, posted on X/Twitter: “Invitational tickets to the test event tonight cancelled just 90 minutes before doors open. What kind of s*** show is this?”

Alison Stafford-Bentley wrote: “Thanks for cancelling tickets for tonight less than an hour before event is due to start. Absolutely fuming.”

“Tonight’s Rick Astley gig gets cancelled at the last minute and all us staff that built it have got email not to turn up,” Michael Phillips tweeted. “Disgraceful, we are fuming.”

The Independent has contacted Astley’s representatives for comment.

Rick Astley played a ‘test run’ gig at the new Manchester Co-op arena
Rick Astley played a ‘test run’ gig at the new Manchester Co-op arena (Getty Images)

Those affected have instead been offered tickets to the Black Keys show next week.

Co-op Live will be officially opened by comedian Peter Kay this Thursday (25 April).

A BBC report of Astley’s show said the arena still has some “ironing out” to do before Kay’s event.

“Some areas weren’t ready, most of the seating wasn’t open, some of the hand dryers in the toilets weren’t working, food was running out… and the queues for food and drink were slightly chaotic,” arts and entertainment correspondent Ian Youngs said.

Peter Kay will officially open the venue this week
Peter Kay will officially open the venue this week (Getty Images)

Meanwhile the main concourse was apparently “busy enough” despite the arena being at less than half capacity: “I really hope the other areas will mean it doesn’t feel overcrowded when it’s fully open and 23,500 people are in here,” he said.

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“I guess that’s what test events are for. But there are just three days until it opens for real.”

Those who did manage to get into the event noted similar issues, but expressed their enthusiasm for Astley’s performance.

“Great night last night at Co-op aena live,” Matt Biker wrote on X/Twitter. “Very impressed with the venue and a great sound. Rick Astley stole the show.”

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