The Metropolitan Police have requested the permanent closure of the O2 Academy Brixton after a crowd crush resulting in two deaths.
The popular music venue is run by Academy Music Group (AMG) and located in south London. On April 17th, the police submitted a request to Lambeth Council that the venue have its license revoked as they had “lost confidence” in AMG as an operator.
In December 2022, a tragic crowd crush at an Asake concert ended in the deaths of security worker Gabrielle Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33. There was also a third person who was critically injured.
The O2 Brixton Academy has a long history and cultural significance in the UK music scene, having hosted countless famous artists and events since it opened in 1983. Upcoming acts include Avril Lavigne, Ziggy Alberts, Fatboy Slim, Peach Pit and the Goo Goo Dolls, showcasing a wide range of performances.
The police force has cited several incidents of violence, drug use and overcrowding that have occurred at or near the venue over the years. They argue AMG and security measures are inadequate to prevent such risks and thus should be stripped of their license.
Academy Music Group and fans of the venue have expressed support for the venue’s continuation, noting the aforementioned incidents are not unique to O2 Academy Brixton and that steps have been taken to improve safety. They also argue the venue’s closure would have negative effects on people’s lives in the area as it provides jobs, tourism and cultural diversity.
A date for the decision on Brixton Academy’s license is yet to be confirmed but the outcome will depend on a review by the Lambeth council’s licensing committee. This is expected to take place in the coming months and is sure to make waves no matter the result.