London’s O2 Academy Brixton will remain closed for three months, after a crowd crush at an Asake gig last year resulted in two people losing their lives.
23-year-old security contractor Gabrielle Hutchinson and 33-year-old mother-of-two Rebecca Ikumelo both died as a result of their injuries when a crowd forced their way into the show by the Nigerian Afrobeats artist on December 15.
Today (January 16), Lambeth Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee has ruled that the venue’s license should be suspended for a further three months until April 16, allowing investigations into the event to continue.
Ahead of the meeting, venue operators AMG (The Academy Music Group) had already announced they would stay shut for three months regardless of the result.
A spokesperson told the BBC: “O2 Academy Brixton recognises the gravity of the events which occurred on the night of 15th December 2022 and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of those who died during the tragic incident and its genuine concerns for anyone affected by it.
“The licence holder (AMG) is committed to understanding what happened and co-operating with the various investigations that are under way including providing full cooperation to the police in the conduct of their inquiries.”
At the end of today’s meeting, Lambeth Councillors again expressed their sympathies for the families of those affected by the incident. It also heard testimonies from music industry figures who had previously hosted gigs there – who hailed it as one of the safest in the country.
The closure is set to affect a number of gigs at the venue including PVRIS, Trivium, Sleep Token and Viagra Boys – which have all been moved to alternative venues.
At an initial council meeting in December 2022 to revoke the license, the Metropolitan Police said a similar crush had occurred in February 2020 during a concert by Naira Marley, another Afrobeats singer. That initial incident raised concerns about the strengths of the venue’s doors.
As part of their investigation, the police have also set up an online portal for people to submit information, images or footage. It is thought that 4,000 witnesses were present at the time of the incident.