London’s Brixton O2 Academy could face permanent closure following a call by the Metropolitan Police ahead of a license meeting by Lambeth Council. The South London venue had its license temporarily suspended for three months in January 2023 following a fatal incident on 15th December 2022.
Security guard Gaby Hutchinson (aged 23) and Rebecca Ikumelo (aged 33) were crushed and killed when the crowd outside the academy tried to gain entry (majority without tickets) to a sold out event by Nigerian artist Asake. Another member of the public was seriously injured. Lambeth councillors decided to close the venue temporarily due to the severity of the incident and “the risks to public safety.”
Following the closure, the BBC reported that door staff had received bribes on the door to allow punters in without a ticket. Not only are the police investigating these claims The Security Industry Authority (SIA) are also conducting inquiries to these claims. The Metropolitan Police submitted an application to Lambeth Council to revoke the venue’s license permanently after trying to work with the venue who have so far been co-operative.
“On 14th April, The Met Police submitted an application for a review of the premises license to Lambeth Council ad will be seeking a revocation of the license.”The Metropolitan Police, speaking to PA news agency
As a result, a petition was launched on Change.org with has already surpassed its goal of 10,000 signatures. The petition takes note of the tragedy that occurred caused by people and makes references to the security issue, “Bring in new security procedures including crowd control to ensure a repeat doesn’t happen.” The petition is hosted by restaurant finance manager Stuart O’Brien who stated that he had been to “hundreds of gigs in my lifetime.”
A new goal of 15,000 signatures was given but has been reached, it has been bumped up to 25,00 and has been shared by celebrities and punters a like. Some sharing their memories, photos and just expressing their disappointment at another music venue facing closure when so many are struggling to keep a float.
The venue first opened as a theatre in 1929 and converted into a disco club in 1972. But after the buzz of D.I.S.C.O in became a concert hall in 1983. It is now owned by Academy Music Group (AMG) with a contract with mobile phone company O2. It has hosted many bands and artists over its history including Rammstein, Iron Maiden, The Clash, The Sex Pistols and many more.
Editor’s note: The events that occurred were tragic, caused by human error and the company’s inability to provide adequate safety to its customers. Rather than closing down another great venue, it is clear there needs an overhaul with it’s security and management following a full investigation by all parties. Nobody should lose their life at the expense of poor crowd control, bribery and inadequate management. If you would like to sign the petition, hit the link