O2 Academy Brixton faces indefinite closure following fatal crowd crush

The venue has been closed since December

The O2 Academy Brixton is facing potentially indefinite closure following a fatal crowd crush last December.

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. A third attendee, aged 21, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

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 venue’s operator 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.

Police tape cordons off the O2 Academy Brixton after a crowd crush at Asake’s gig on December 15, 2022. CREDIT: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

In a fresh submission on April 17, the Metropolitan Police said it had “lost confidence” in  AMG and urged Lambeth Council to revoke the licence completely.

A spokesperson for the force confirmed the move and told BBC News: “On Monday 16 January, the licence of the Brixton O2 Academy was suspended for three months. On 14 April, the Met Police submitted an application for a review of premises licence to Lambeth Council and will be seeking a revocation of the licence. This matter will be decided at a future council sub-committee hearing on a date to be confirmed.”

A spokesperson for AMG also said the company had “co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred”.

They added: “We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely. AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms.”

Along with he Met’s application, AMG also submitted their own application for a variation of their licence, on March 22, which would allow it to stay open if approved.

But the police’s application states that the option of allowing the venue to identify remedial steps to retain its licence “has not been successful in identifying the remedial measures which need to be in place before the Academy can safely re-open.”

The next meeting is due to be held on May 15.

See the full upcoming listings for O2 Academy Brixton until May and updates on their status here.

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