Noel Gallagher to Reopen Manchester Arena With Benefit Concert

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Noel Gallagher

The "We Are Manchester" event, set for Sept. 9, will also feature Rick Astley, Courteneers and Blossoms.

Manchester Arena will reopen on Sept. 9 with a special benefit concert to honor the 22 people who died following a suicide bombing attack at an Ariana Grande concert.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds will headline the one-off "We Are Manchester" gig, which will also feature performances from local acts Courteeners, Blossoms and Rick Astley, with organizers promising more artists to be announced.

Poet Tony Walsh, whose recital of his poem "This Is the Place" at a vigil the day after the blast became an unofficial anthem of the city's recovery, is also on the bill.

All proceeds from the concert will go towards a newly established charity to fund a permanent memorial to the 22 people who died in the blast, the youngest of which was 8-year-old Saffie Roussos.

A separate "We Love Manchester" charity fund set up in the wake of the blast has raised over £18 million ($23 million) in donations. The families of those killed in the May 22 attack will each receive $320,000, trustees have announced.  

Nine people remain in the hospital receiving treatment for their injuries, according to Manchester City Council, while a criminal investigation into the suicide attack — which occurred when Manchester-born Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the foyer of the arena as people were leaving an Ariana Grande concert — is ongoing. The 21,000-capacity venue has been closed ever since, leading to the cancellation of concerts by Take That, Kings of Leon, Celine Dion, Radiohead, Linkin Park, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and Blink-182, among others.

"May's events will never be forgotten, but they will not stop us — or Mancunian music fans — from coming together to enjoy live music," said Manchester Arena general manager James Allen announcing the concert.

"Manchester Arena has celebrated over 20 years hosting some of the greatest musical talent of all time, and the significant economic and cultural impact that this has on the city means that this legacy must continue," Allen went on to say, adding that public safety remains a priority for all those attending the venue.

In line with heightened security operations at many venues across Europe, Manchester Arena is banning anyone from bringing a bag larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm (13 ¾ x 15 ¾ x 7 ½ inches) inside the venue. Ticket holders will also be screened on arrival and customers are advised to allow extra time to arrive at the facility to get through security procedures. 

"No one will ever forget the terrible events of [May 22], but Manchester has reacted with love, solidarity and a determination to continue doing the things which make this such a vibrant city," said Councillor Sue Murphy, deputy leader of Manchester City Council, calling the re-opening of the arena "a powerful symbol of this defiant and resilient spirit."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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