Rebecca Kane Burton, The O2 arena’s former VP & GM, has stepped in as interim GM at Oak View Group’s (OVG) Co-op Live arena (cap. 23,500) following the resignation of Gary Roden after a week that has seen a test event reduced in capacity and the postponement of the official launch event at the Manchester venue with a show by Peter Kay.

The past week has also seen Roden face a backlash after he suggested some grassroots music venues were “poorly run”, while discussing whether Co-op Live would back the Music Venue Trust’s call for a £1 levy from every arena ticket sold to support smaller venues.

An OVG spokesperson said, “Gary Roden has decided to resign. We’d like to thank Gary for his help bringing the UK’s newest arena to live entertainment fans and wish him the best for the future.”

Burton is a highly respected and experienced venue management professional. Since taking her first step into the events industry with English Heritage at the age of 21, her career has included being MD at Alexandra Palace, The O2 arena’s VP & GM, and CEO of LW Theatres. In 2022, Kane was appointed UK & Ireland CEO at live entertainment catering giant Sodexo Live!.

Roden, the former SVP client development and commercial at Ticketmaster UK, joined OVG in April last year to oversee Co-op Live’s management during the opening period and beyond.

In an interview with Access All Areas, Roden talked at length of the intention to support grassroots talent at Co-op Live.

“The intention is to maximise all the spaces and have as much live entertainment going on as possible all year round,” he said. “We are looking to engage with local artists and give them an opportunity to be involved. We’re committed to joining the debate and supporting solutions for grassroots.

“I know the Music Venue Trust is really concerned about grassroots venues but there’s also an obvious issue with music education as well. The grassroots debate is very broad, and we’ve got to work out how we support the whole thing. Co-op Live is going to be bringing people in from way outside of Manchester and obviously internationally, so a lot of those Manchester venues are probably going to benefit from music fans coming to stay in the city. We’re very confident that the building is going to give a lot back to the local city economy.”

Ahead of the first full capacity show by Peter Kay on 29 April, Co-op Live will host The Black Keys tomorrow, 27 April, in the venue’s lower bowl with 10,000 fans.