Met Police call for permanent closure of Brixton Academy

Brixton Academy
(Image credit: Thabo Jaiyesimi/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The O2 Academy Brixton is facing permanent closure following the fatal crowd crush that took place at the iconic venue last year.

While people were waiting outside the venue prior to a show, numerous individuals tried to force their way into the building, leading to overcrowding and the eventual crush. Two attendees sadly lost their lives, with another young gig-goer being sent to hospital in critical condition.

Following the incident, which took place on December 15 during a gig featuring Afrobeats singer Asake, the venue's licence was temporarily revoked until January 16, the date at which Lambeth Council agreed to discuss the potential future re-opening of its doors.

Prior to the meeting, however, a spokesperson for the venue’s operator, Academy Music Group (AMG), announced that Brixton Academy would voluntarily stay closed until April so they could investigate what caused the crush.

At the same time, it was announced that the venue’s licence would be suspended for another three months.

It was also alleged to the BBC via an anonymous security guard that colleagues would allow "a couple of hundred" extra people into gigs in exchange for cash bribes.

On April 17,  Metropolitan Police urged Lambeth Council to revoke the licence completely, declaring to be not confident in AMG's investigation. 

A spokesperson for the Met confirmed their stance to the BBC, stating: "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 noted that the company had “co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred" and that they have "presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely."

They add: "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.”

On March 22, AMG submitted an application for a review of their licence with hopes to re-open the venue.

However, the Met's application goes against AMG's plans, noting that the venue's proposals had "not been successful in identifying the remedial measures which need to be in place before the Academy can safely re-open.”

The next meeting to discuss Brixton Academy's future is scheduled to be held on May 15. Since its closure, artists booked to play the venue have moved their shows to other establishments across London.

Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music.