The opening of the UK’s biggest arena has been postponed again, with Co-op Live (cap. 23,500) operator Oak View Group calling off Olivia Rodrigo’s concerts on 3 and 4 May two hours after cancelling a reduced capacity show by Boogie Wit Da Hoodie at the last-minute yesterday, 1 May.

OVG said the issues that led to the cancelation of the Boogie Wit Da Hoodie show included problems with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system: “During soundcheck, a component of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, used to direct air, separated from the ductwork. There was nobody injured. Although we believe this to be an isolated incident caused by a factory defect, we were not able to verify that all similar nozzles were free of such defects. In conjunction with wider stakeholders, Oak View Group has made the necessary call to ensure the full safety of all visitors to the venue, and to postpone the performance.”

Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke said, “The safety and security of all visiting and working on Co-op Live is our utmost priority, and we could not and will not run any event until it is absolutely safe to do so.

“Today was a very unexpected situation but without a doubt the right decision. I deeply apologise for the impact that this has had on ticket-holders and fans.”

A spokesperson from venue sponsor Co-op said it is seeking a full explanation from Oak View Group about the situation, together with a clear plan for opening the venue and for postponed and future events.

OVG said it is working with artist management and promoters to limit the impact on the opening season schedule: “Where necessary, we will identify alternate dates, and will continually reassess to provide fans with sufficient notice regarding imminent shows. Should shows be cancelled or rescheduled, fans will be contacted by their point of purchase and offered a full refund where preferred.”

Rebecca Kane Burton, The O2 arena’s former VP & GM, has stepped in as interim GM at Co-Op Live following the resignation of Gary Roden.

On 20 April, Co-op Live hosted an 11,000-capacity test event involving a show by Rick Astley. The audience size was reduced shortly before the event, with OVG explaining it was “to enable us to test the spaces effectively”.

Peter Kay was originally poised to open the venue with its first full capacity show on 23 April but is now not expected to perform there until 23 May. The Black Keys, who were set to play a 10,000-capacity show at the Manchester venue on 27 April, have been rescheduled to 15 May.