On the evening of September 9th Manchester Arena opened its doors to the public for the first time since the horrific evening of May 22nd.
The people came out in their thousands, standing, defiant, together, proud of a city that had not let fear win. Although the ambience was slightly undercut by sadness, with the fact the charity concert had to take place at all, the atmosphere throughout the evening was electrifying. The room felt alive with the thrill of the fact that Manchester hadn’t been beaten by the attack, the atrocity that happened on May 22nd had only brought us closer together. Sat there singing along to Rick Astley, it felt hard to imagine the scenes that were unfolding the last time crowds of people were stood under this same roof.
However, that fateful evening in May is one many people are likely to never forget. Tragically 22 people will never return to Manchester Arena to see the support and love being felt tonight. The aftermath of the horrific suicide attack at the end of the Ariana Grande concert, which had been attended, predominantly by teenagers and children left twenty two dead.
Although myself and my friends aren’t actually from Manchester, watching the events unfold on the news we knew instantly that we wanted to be involved in proving that terrorism can never win. There’s a buzz about Manchester that you don’t get anywhere else, it’s a city, as Tony Walsh describes it ‘were go-getters and goal setters know they’ve a chance’ – if anywhere was going to fight back with force, it’s Manchester. So, when tickets for the ‘One Love Manchester’ concert went on sale the following week getting tickets was a priority.
The bittersweet atmosphere felt at Old Trafford Cricket Ground that evening was one that was mirrored last weekend – the constant reminder just by being there that it shouldn’t be happening at all, but the pride and love felt by attending and being part of something so powerful triumphing gave a strong feeling of hope.
The city united for a third time last weekend, when twenty-one thousand people filled Manchester Arena to capacity for the first time since the attack. With a heavily Mancunian-based line up the night felt rooted in the city’s history – a celebration of local talent including global names: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blossoms, Rick Astley and The Courteeners meant the audience was filled with a variety of people, coming together through the love of a common interest. Music.
The “I heart MCR flags” plastered proudly in the exit into Victoria Train Station serve as a constant reminder of what happened that night. The M.E.N’s doors have now reopened to the public permanently, looking almost the same aside from a few subtle differences. The city now looks forward to the Arena hosting several big names in the near future, such as Metallica and Little Mix. While the loss of twenty-two innocent lives will never be forgotten, the solidarity of the city coming together has proved that Manchester has not been beaten.
Written By Molly Thompson
Edited By Toby Wise