Thousands attend 'One Love Manchester' benefit concert

Arian Grande has been joined by an all-star cast including Coldplay, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Take That

Thousands attend 'One Love Manchester' benefit concert

The ‘One Love Manchester’ benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, 04-06-2017. Image: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images

Updated 21:45

Former Oasis front-man Liam Gallagher has delighted the crowds with a surprise appearance at the One Love Manchester benefit concert.

Gallagher followed the likes of Coldplay and Ariana Grande at the benefit gig broadcast all around the world.

The concert opened this evening with the words "let's not be afraid."

Armed police are surrounding the Old Trafford cricket ground as thousands of fans attend the event.

The concert saw Ariana Grande making an emotional return to the stage following the tragic bombing that left 22 people dead at her concert at the Manchester Arena almost two weeks ago.

Grande was instrumental in arranging the tribute event - and she left many in the crowd in tears as she sang with a choir from Parrs Wood High School, which have raised thousands of pounds for the families of the bombing victims.

She performed alongside a host of other big names including Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Take That.

As the show got underway this evening Take That singer Gary Barlow thanked Grande for inviting them to perform:

“Our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by this,” he said. “But right now we want you to stand strong, look at the sky and sing loud and proud.”

Marcus Mumford from the group Mumford and Sons was the first performer at the gig – which is raising money for the victims and families of the attack.

All proceeds from the show are going to the ‘We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.’

Fans

Around 50,000 fans were expected to attend – despite some admitting to feeling nervous in the wake of last night’s attack in London.

Everyone who attended the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester was offered free entrance to tonight’s event.

Linda Tipping, 50, from Chorley in Lancashire wore Grande's signature bunny ears to the show but confessed she was "nervous" following the London attack.

“I thought about not coming after last night. But friends said 'don't be stupid, enjoy yourself and don't think about it,’” she said. “We can't let them stop us.”

Liam Rees, 18, from South Wales, revealed he had given a spare ticket to the Old Trafford concert to Kellie Royle, 41, who had helped him and a friend get home after the Manchester attack.

He admitted he had been "all over the place" after hearing about the attack in London but added: "It's important to live your life to the fullest."

Courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear

Organisers said the event would go ahead "loudly" and with "greater purpose" following the attack in London.

Fans were urged not to bring bags in order to speed up searches as people entered the concert.

Former police officer in the city, Chris Horrocks, said security is very tight in the area:

“The officers here will be using sniffer dogs and explosives dogs and making sure that when the public come out from the concert later this evening, they will feel happy, they will feel reassured and hopefully we will have a bit of a carnival atmosphere as a memorial to those who died,” he said.

American star Grande said she was "praying for London" after the atrocity in the British capital - which killed seven and left 48 injured.

In a statement released on Sunday, Grande and Bieber's manager Scooter Braun said the tribute concert will be to "honour those lost" in both the Manchester and London's atrocities.

"We plan to honour them with courage, bravery, and defiance in the face of fear,” he said.

"Today's One Love Manchester benefit concert will not only continue, but will do so with greater purpose."

"We must not be afraid and in tribute to all those affected here and around the world, we will bring our voices together and sing loudly."

Last night's London Bridge attack was the third mass casualty terror attack in the UK in the last four months.

The bombing at the end of Grande's concert at Manchester Arena last month killed 22 people and left 116 injured.