Elbow will open the £365m Manchester venue later, after an inspection gave the venue the all-clear.

Opening Time - The new Co-op Live arena is set to open this evening after three weeks of delays, false starts, and chaos behind the scenes. Elbow will open the £365m Manchester venue later, after an inspection gave the venue the all-clear.

Comedian Peter Kay had been due to open the 23,500-seater venue on 23 April,

The eleventh-hour postponement of A Boogie With Da Hoodie's gig on 1 May saw other shows moved to the nearby AO Arena. Kay's shows were twice postponed over issues including power supply and emergency communications, while a Boogie Wit Da Hoodie's show was pulled over a problem with the ventilation system.

Bosses said they were "thrilled" to be opening the venue after being "disappointed to have delayed our introduction and frustrated so many in the process". "We now look forward to welcoming fans to Elbow's opening performance on 14 May 2024", it said in a statement.

Eurovision - Eurovision Song Contest organisers have said they "regret" that some delegations "didn't respect the spirit of the rules" in Sweden. Italy's Angelina Mango and Ireland's Bambie Thug are among contestants who complained of a "tense" and "horrible" atmosphere backstage. The Dutch singer Joost Klein was also sent home after being accused of intimidating behaviour by a female member of the production crew.

In a statement on Monday, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which runs Eurovision, acknowledged that several contestants had lodged complaints. "We spoke to a number of delegations during the event regarding various issues that were brought to our attention," it said. "The EBU’s governing bodies will, together with the heads of delegations, review the events surrounding the ESC in Malmö to move forward in a positive way and to ensure the values of the event are respected by everyone." It added that individual cases will be discussed at a later date.

The contest was overshadowed by protests over Israel's participation, due to the humanitarian cost of its war on Hamas. Thousands of people protested on the streets of Malmö, and the country's representative, Eden Golan, received a mixture of boos and cheers from the audience.

Support Act - A new levy on arena and stadium concert tickets is the best way to support struggling local music venues, a group of MPs has recommended. In a report published on Saturday, the cross-party Culture, Media and Sport committee also suggested a cut in VAT to help grassroots venues.

The number of small music venues in the UK declined by 13% last year - accounting for as many as 30,000 fewer shows - according to the Music Venue Trust (MVT), which said the sector had taken a "battering". The Trust has been campaigning for £1 to be added to tickets for arena and stadium shows to subsidise the pubs and clubs where many headline acts start out.

The committee launched an inquiry into the grassroots music scene last year, with some artists warning it about a "cost of touring crisis". The MPs' resulting report also suggested the launch of a new fan-led review of live music to assess the challenges.

On The Fringe - An interactive baking show, an experimental show about grief featuring folk music, and three new comedies from the producer of Fleabag and Baby Reindeer will run at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A further 1,590 shows have been revealed for the festival, taking the total number announced so far to 3,237, with the full programme set to be launched on 12 June.

Summerhall’s programme runs from August 1-26 and features work from Singapore, Palestine, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and elsewhere, as well as shows in the official showcases from Ireland, Denmark, Germany, England, Luxembourg, Taiwan and Wales.

Music Class - Ed Sheeran performed a surprise gig at a primary school in East Sussex. The superstar singer spoke with pupils during their music lessons at Fairlight Primary and Nursery School in Brighton – even donating five of his guitars. Head teacher Damien Jordan said the musician spoke about his career and the importance of music education. “Taylor Swift will be in next week, and then Beyoncé the week after,” Mr Jordan suggested.

(Jim Evans)

14 May 2024

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