A huge security operation is under way as the first major event is held in Manchester since the suicide bombing.
Hundreds of police are on duty at Lancashire Cricket Club's Old Trafford ground, which on Saturday hosts a concert for 50,000 music fans.
Armed police are manning the gates, and officers in high visibility jackets and swat-style baseball caps are stationed every 50 yards on roads approaching the venue.
Airport-style security devices are being used to screen visitors and queues have begun to form as tickets are checked and bags are examined by stadium stewards before entry.
As coaches began to arrive, disgorging dozens of excited youngsters for the event, police officers carrying semi-automatic weapons scanned the crowds and mounted police patrolled the streets.
Doors opened at 4.30pm with the main acts, The Charlatans and The Courteeners performing later, with the event likely to finish at about 10.30pm.
It is the first big music concert since Monday night's terror attack at Manchester Arena, when suicide bomber Salman Abedi murdered 22 and injured scores of others.
Gig-goers were defiant as they queued up to enter the grounds.
Ellie Walker from Glasgow, who travelled to Manchester for the night with her three friends, said: "We just can't let this stop us from doing what we want to do. And I feel a whole spirit around Manchester.
"It's a lot like Glasgow in that way. Everyone comes together."
The 19-year-old student said the extra police presence "makes us feel safer". Many of those attending wore yellow stickers emblazoned with the slogan #WeStandTogether, handed out by volunteers from the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
Claire Levison, one of those helping to hand out leaflets and stickers for the peace centre, which was founded after the 1993 IRA bombing in Warrington, said people supported their message.
The 43-year-old Manchester Metropolitan University lecturer said: "People love what the stickers represent. Some people have stopped and said that even though they didn't know anyone directly affected by what happened on Monday, they still found it really upsetting.
"We are just here to let people know they can contact us at the peace centre if they are struggling with what happened."