Only half the recommended medical staff were on duty at the O2 Academy Brixton on the night of a fatal crowd crush in December, according to whistleblowers.
The incident occurred when people who were outside the venue for an Asake gig on December 15, 2022 tried and were able to force their way in to the show, leading to overcrowding and the gig being cancelled half way through. Rebecca Ikumelo, aged 33 and Gaby Hutchinson, 23 died in the following days.
Now, insiders at the venue’s medical provider – Collingwood Services Ltd – have approached BBC Radio 4’s File On 4 programme to reveal that only half of the recommended medical presence at a gig of that size were present on the night, as BBC News reports.
Claiming that the medical cover at the gig had been “inadequate,” one whistleblower said: “[They] had two student paramedics, so they’re basically unqualified. They have to be supervised by a paramedic, not by anybody of a lower grade. They didn’t have appropriate supervision.”
According to the BBC report, industry guidelines state that at a 5,000 capacity gig like the Asake concert in Brixton, 10 medical professionals should be in attendance, with Collingwood confirming that only five staff were present at the gig in question.
However, Collingwood told the BBC they were “fully confident” that the team on the night had “responded speedily, efficiently and with best practice” after the incident.
When contacted by the BBC, venue operator Academy Music Group (AMG) said that it was unable to respond to specific questions about the evening in question.
After O2 Academy Brixton’s licence was temporarily suspended until January 16, Lambeth Council said that it would meet again on that date to discuss the future of the venue.
Before the meeting, a spokesperson for AMG said that it would stay closed voluntarily until April while investigations continue. The meeting then saw the announcement that the venue’s licence would be suspended for three months also.
Since then, a host of artists have moved gigs from Brixton to other gig venues across London.
Following the closure, Dry Cleaning and Beartooth announced that their March gigs will now take place at The Roundhouse and OVO Arena Wembley, respectively. Girl In Red meanwhile, has moved her April 3 show to Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo and Yard Act have moved their Brixton show in May to Troxy on the same date.
See the full upcoming listings for O2 Academy Brixton until May and updates on their status here.