Manchester Arena to reopen for first time since May's terror attack

One Love Manchester benefit concert brings Britain together after two terror attacksNewsweek

The Manchester Arena will reopen on Saturday (9 September), four months after a terrorist attack killed 22 people and injured a further 250.

The event will be the first hosted by the venue since suicide bomber Salman Abedi blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards the Manchester Memorial Fund, which is being overseen by the Lord Mayor of Manchester to establish a permanent memorial for victims of the terror attack.

The venue will host the We are Manchester show, headlined by local hero Noel Gallagher, alongside Mancunian bands such as The Courteneers and Blossoms, 1980s pop star Rick Astley, and poet Tony Walsh.

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The latter captured the spirit of defiance that epitomised the city in the wake of the attack, as he performed his poem This Is The Place the day after the attack at a vigil in Manchester's Albert Square.

Meanwhile, Gallagher's appearance is of particular significance as Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger became an anthem of unity and was regularly sung at vigils and wakes held after the attack, including at the One Love Manchester benefit gig which was held a week after the blast.

The fund raising concert was headlined by Grande, who was joined on stage by the likes of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Little Mix and Pharrell Williams. However, Noel was criticised for not reuniting with his younger brother, Liam Gallagher, on-stage at the show.

Liam, 44, slammed his former Oasis bandmate for refusing to brush aside their feud to show unity for their hometown. However, Noel said he was never asked to perform and later donated all profits of Oasis' Don't Look Back In Anger to the Manchester Relief Fund.

The Gallaghers, however, will not be reunited in Manchester, as Liam will not appear at the event at the Arena tonight, which will be hosted by comedian Russell Kane.

"I like to think this show is typical of the British spirit, the way we hit back," he told Sky News.

"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."

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Heightened security measures will in be place for the event, with no backpacks or bags larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm to be allowed inside the venue.

Two of the main entrances to the venue will be open, Hunt Banks outside Victoria Station with access points from both Deansgate and Victoria. The City Room entry, accessible via Victoria Station, will also be open, even though it is still undergoing renovation.

James Allen, the venue's manager, said the gig will be an emotional occasion for all those involved and for the city as a whole.

"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," he told the BBC.

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"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. Not just for [tonight], but going forward.

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

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