Manchester Arena to reopen with Noel Gallagher charity gig three months on from terror attack bombing

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The Manchester Arena will reopen tonight with a charity concert headlined by Noel Gallagher three months on from the devastating terror attack which left 22 people dead

Survivors of the May 22 bombing and families of victims who died will return to the scene for the sold-out gig. All money raised will go towards a permanent memorial for the victims.

There will be additional security and screening at the venue and no backpacks or large bags will be allowed inside.

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated his device in the foyer of the arena as crowds left an Ariana Grande concert. It was the second terror attack to shake Britain this year, after Westminster in March and shortly before London Bridge in June.

Three months on, the venue has been partly renovated and will reopen for tonight’s We Are Manchester concert, which will welcome 14,000 people to see Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds headline, after Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ became an unofficial anthem following the attack.

The former Oasis singer, performing as Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, will be joined by performances from The Courteeners, Blossoms and Rick Astley.

A pre-show DJ set from Clint Boon will be followed by a performance from poet Tony Walsh, known as Longfella, with a recital of This Is The Place, a homage to the city of Manchester.

“The arena reopening will be a difficult and emotional night for everyone but it is an important event that will bring people together to remember all those affected by the horrific arena attack,” the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said.

“This is the strongest possible statement that we can make to those that peddle hate. They will not change us, we will continue to stand together. They will never change Manchester.”

Ariana Grande performs during the One Love Manchester benefit concert. (PA)

All profits raised will go to the Manchester Memorial Fund, a charitable trust overseen by the city’s Lord Mayor to pay for the permanent memorial.

Terry O’Hara, project lead for the Survivors Assistance Network at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace, on Thursday helped co-ordinate visits to the arena by around 400 people affected by the bombing.

Mr O’Hara said: “It was incredibly emotional and very dignified. It was a very emotional place. It got very busy, especially with many young girls.”

Noel Gallagher of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds performs live on stage in Brazil. (Mauricio Santana/Getty)

He said a team of trained trauma specialists and mental health professionals will be on hand at tonight’s event for anyone who needs help.

He added: “We are there ready to provide support. I’m hopeful it will be a poignant but happy occasion but if people need support we will be there for them.

“I think there will be a very positive atmosphere.

The Manchester Arena preparing to reopen. (PA)

“There’s also a thing about getting back to normal and life carrying on in defiance of terrorism, there’s a symbolism to the arena reopening.”

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “I would like to welcome everyone heading into the city centre this weekend to attend the concert at the Manchester Arena.

“This will be the first event held at the arena since the terrorist atrocity which took place on 22 May and clearly the opening will hold significance for the people of Manchester and all those affected by the attack.

“I would encourage everyone to arrive in a timely manner so that they can ensure they pass through the security checks and get into the venue without missing the start of the concert.

“Once again I would like to welcome everyone attending and I hope everybody has a fantastic time.”

The event is being broadcast live on BBC Radio Manchester, X-fm and Key 103 radio stations.

Doors open at 5pm, with the main show starting at 7pm and the event expected to end around 11pm.

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