Nicki Minaj fans were left angry after the American rapper’s gig at Manchester’s Co-op Live arena was called off at the last minute, following her arrest at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

Minaj was arrested on suspicion of exporting soft drugs before being fined KSh. 50,000 (£300; $380) and allowed to continue her journey, Dutch authorities said.

The artist didn’t make it to Manchester in time for her concert on Saturday, which was postponed as about 20,000 fans were in the arena waiting for her to take the stage.

They included Imogen Pope, 18, from Newton-le-Wilows in Merseyside, who said she was “pretty livid”.

“I spent £150 (KSh. 25,417) for my ticket and booked a day off work for it, and we sat there for about three hours waiting and we got told it’s not happening,” she said. “I’m gutted.”

Ellis Day, 17, from Cheshire, said he was “absolutely devastated”.

“We’ve come here, we spent all day getting ready, to see this happen.

“It’s just really disappointing when we’ve got our hopes up and spent the money, and we get told at the very last minute that she’s not going to show up.”

Fans were let into the arena at 19:00 BST, and were hopeful that the gig would go ahead right up until the announcement about the postponement, which came just after 21:30 BST – around the time she had been expected to come on stage.

There were some boos in the Manchester arena, before everyone filed out.

According to videos on social media and flight data, the plane thought to be transporting Minaj was still in Amsterdam when the Manchester show was postponed.

“I’m disappointed because I saw this afternoon that Nicki Minaj got arrested in Amsterdam,” said Kian Young, 23, who had travelled from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire.

The arrest was beyond the arena’s control, but Mr Young was one of many to question why no official statement was made earlier.

“I’m confused as to why the Co-op arena hasn’t spoken to its fans. Why didn’t they cancel it at 17:00?

“Everyone’s come – my missus is crying. Why not tell us it’s cancelled before bringing us in?”

It is the latest problem to hit the new £450m (KSh, 76.2B) arena, which has also been forced to postpone or move gigs by the likes of Olivia Rodrigo, Take That and Peter Kay in recent weeks after suffering a string of delays and technical problems.

Olivia Gibson, 21, from Newcastle, said she was now an “ex fan”, and Minaj has a track record of running late and should have allowed more time to travel.

“I feel appalled. But also, in a way, I’m not shocked,” she said.

“And it’s not the Co-op Live’s fault. She’s just let all her fans down.”

Another ticket-holder, Anna, travelled from Poland with her boyfriend and said they had spent about £1,000 (KSh. 169,461) on the trip in total.

“I’m very angry because my boyfriend gave me a ticket for the concert for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “We flew from Poland for this concert.

“She knows it is sold out here. It’s a lot of money.”

Other die-hard fans refused to blame Minaj.

Shaz Shah, 23, from Manchester, said: “What’s happened tonight is definitely not the artist’s fault – it’s an issue that’s happened in another country and it shouldn’t be taken out on her.

“Co-op Live should have been a bit more transparent and told us a bit sooner. People have booked days off work, they’ve bought tickets, just for it to be cancelled. The matter should have been escalated sooner.”

On social media, Minaj said she was in a jail cell for between five and six hours, and finally arrived at her hotel in Manchester around midnight.

“They succeeded at their plan to not let me get on that stage tonight,” she wrote on X, without saying who she was referring to.

“Please please please accept my deepest & most sincere apologies.

“They sure did know exactly how to hurt me today but this too, shall pass.

“They’ve been doing this over & over & over & over & over again & I’ve tried so hard to not discuss it b/c [because] you guys deserve to just get the good stuff. I hate involving you in anything that isn’t for entertainment purposes only.”

She said she hoped to announce a rescheduled date on Sunday, promising an “added bonus” for those with a ticket.

Earlier, Minaj filmed part of her arrest, posting it to social media on Saturday afternoon.

In the video, a police officer could seemingly be heard telling her: “You are under arrest.” She was seen telling him she was not carrying drugs.

The music star posted a series of messages on X. “They took my luggage without consent,” she wrote in one. In another she added: “This is Amsterdam btw [by the way], where weed is legal.”

Dutch prosecutors have told local media she was carrying 30 to 100 grams of cannabis – but Minaj claims “the pre-rolls” belonged her security guard, external.

It is technically against the law to possess, sell or produce drugs in the Netherlands. But the country operates a policy of toleration towards the sale or possession of small amounts of some drugs.

In a statement, promoters Live Nation said: “Nicki Minaj’s scheduled performance at Manchester’s Co-op Live on Saturday 25 May has been postponed.”

“Tickets will remain valid for the rescheduled performance which will be announced as soon as possible.

“Despite Nicki’s best efforts to explore every possible avenue to make tonight’s show happen, the events of today have made it impossible. We are deeply disappointed by the inconvenience this has caused.”

Co-op Live posted the same statement.

Minaj is due to continue her tour in Birmingham on Sunday, then visit London and Glasgow, before a second scheduled date in Manchester on Thursday.

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