UK

O2 Academy Brixton to reopen with tribute acts on bill following deadly crush

The venue has been closed since the tragedy in December 2022.

Police officers outside Brixton O2 Academy after the fatal crush in 2022
Brixton O2 Academy incident Police officers outside Brixton O2 Academy after the fatal crush in 2022 (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

The O2 Academy Brixton will reopen in April, 16 months after a deadly crush at the venue.

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were killed when fans without tickets tried to force their way into a show by Nigerian artist Asake on December 15 2022.

The south London venue faced permanent closure after the Metropolitan Police urged the council to remove its licence but following a two-day hearing in September 2023, Lambeth Council’s licensing sub-committee voted to allow the venue to continue operating – so long as it meets “77 extensive and robust new conditions”.

It has now been confirmed the first shows at the venue will feature tribute acts, rather than famous bands.

A statement on X said: “O2 Academy Brixton will reopen on Friday 19 April with Nirvana UK (tribute to Nirvana) and The Smyths (tribute to The Smiths), followed by Friday 26 April with Definitely Mightbe (tribute to Oasis) and UK Foo Fighters (tribute to Foo Fighters).”

About 1,000 people were outside the venue and police found “large-scale disorder” with crowds eventually pushing the doors open, according to Gerald Gouriet KC, who represented the Met at an earlier licensing meeting.

When the doors were breached the crowd poured into the lobby towards the auditorium and surged over people who had fallen to the floor.

The company which owns the Brixton Academy, Academy Music Group (AMG), said it had developed new safety measures in an effort to have its licence restored, including stronger doors, a better queuing system and more secure ticketing.

The Metropolitan Police also said at the time that officers will work with Academy Music Group and Lambeth Council to ensure the public can enjoy events at O2 Brixton Academy again
Brixton O2 Academy incident The Metropolitan Police also said at the time that officers will work with Academy Music Group and Lambeth Council to ensure the public can enjoy events at O2 Brixton Academy again (Kirsty O'Connor/PA)

AMG said changes to its operating policies had been developed by “leading professionals” to prevent a repeat of last year’s events.

The venue has spent £1.2 million on maintenance and improvements in 2023, despite being closed, a hearing was told.

Following the ruling, Brixton Academy said it was “immensely grateful” to Lambeth Council and looked forward to welcoming fans back.

The Metropolitan Police also said at the time that officers will work with Academy Music Group and Lambeth Council to ensure the public can enjoy events at O2 Brixton Academy again.