Arena date ‘always respected’
MANCHESTER Arena bosses say the horrific events of May 22 will never be forgotten by staff - and that the date will ‘always be respected’ at the venue.
The doors were opened for the first time last Saturday as a host of stars, led by Noel Gallagher, put on a performance for the We Are Manchester gig.
The first regular concert at the Arena will take place today as US star John Legend takes to the stage.
Speaking about the venue’s reopening, John Sharkey, executive vice president of European Operations for SMG Europe, which owns Manchester Arena, said: “I thought Saturday was superb. It couldn’t have gone any better. It was great to see the support for the evening.
“It was great to see it finally back open. After May 22 it was about trying to do the right thing and making sure we were going to recover and making sure it was never going to be repeated.
“We are never going to forget May 22 and it will remain with the venue and the people of Manchester for a very long time.
“The date will always be respected at the Arena.
“We want to ensure going forward the arena is where it always has been, the centre of Manchester and the home to great nights and music events.”
Metal detectors, a no backpack policy and more visible security staff are part of the ‘gold standard’ measures that have been put in place at the Arena to ensure people feel safe following the bombing, which claimed the lives of 22 people and left dozens more injured.
Arena bosses have worked with police, security experts and international agencies. Counsellors will also be on hand at some events to help those struggling with a return to the venue.
Mr Sharkey added: “We have set the gold standard now and this is what we are going to have to do going forward.
“We are in a different world now and we have to adapt to that.
“The whole rationale was to try and provide comfort and reassure people they can come back and they will feel safe here.
“It has been great to see the spirit of Manchester and people pulling together.
“We have seen great things because of that, and long may it continue.” John Legend preview - See CityLife
SMG’s John Sharkey