Around 50,000 people are today expected to attend benefit gig headlined by Ariana Grande for the victims of the Manchester attack, a day after seven people were killed in another terrorist attack at London Bridge.
Security was already expected to be extremely tight at Manchester’s Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground, with police asking people attending to avoid bringing bags so they can be admitted quickly.
Armed and unarmed officers from police forces around the country were expected to be drafted in to help, but on Sunday Greater Manchester police could not comment on how the attack would affect the policing plan for today’s concert.
In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester police said: “We’re deeply saddened to hear about last night’s horrific attacks in London and our thoughts are with everyone affected, including the emergency services responding to the incident.”
Around 70,000 people are also due to attend a testimonial football match at Manchester’s United Old Trafford stadium today, and Shewan added: “There are two large-scale events taking place in Greater Manchester today and we would like to assure people that these will still take place, but with additional security in place to ensure the safety of everyone.”
As well as Grande, acts including Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams, Little Mix, Take That, Black Eyed Peas, Usher and Niall Horan will be performing in a three-hour concert that’s being broadcast in over 50 countries worldwide.
Twenty-two people, many of them children, died when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the end of Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena on 22 May.
Proceeds from One Love Manchester, which was announced last week, will go towards We Love Manchester Emergency Fund, set up by Manchester City Council alongside the British Red Cross. It’s thought that up to £2 million could be raised by the concert.
Grande arrived in the UK on Friday, and later that day visited some of her fans who were injured in the attack in hospital.
Announcing the concert last week, she said: “My heart, prayers and condolences are with the victims of the Manchester attack and their loved ones. There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better. However, I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way.
“We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win… Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.
“Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy. So that is what it will continue to do for us. We will continue to honour the ones we lost, their loved ones, my fans and all affected by this tragedy. They will be on my mind and in my heart every day and I will think of them with everything I do for the rest of my life.”
General admission tickets for the concert sold out within 20 minutes on Thursday, while around 14,000 complimentary tickets have been allocated to people who were at Grande’s show on the night of the attack.
Ticketmaster, the company responsible for selling and allocating the tickets, said last week it had received more than 10,000 “unscrupulous applications” for complimentary tickets for people who were not at the 22 May gig.